Competition for residents is increasing among states as the labor shortage continues to inhibit growth and development.
Take, for instance, a new effort underway in Nebraska. The national marketing campaign is named “The Good Life is Calling,” and it seeks to boost the state’s workforce by urging people to raise their families in that state. The campaign, which kicked off last month, is funded by Nebraska’s share of federal COVID relief dollars. Good idea.
“Our state has welcoming communities, affordable homes and top-notch schools. Nebraska is growing fast and creating plenty of great-paying jobs,” Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said at the campaign’s launch. “For those looking for opportunity and a safer, friendlier place to put down roots, the good life is calling.”
Let it be known that the “good life” has been calling in North Dakota for a few years now. The North Dakota Department of Commerce is in the midst of pushing its own recruitment efforts via the website ndtourism.com/jobs and, notably, unveiled its “Find the Good Life in North Dakota” workforce campaign a few years back.
The commercials still exist, reminding would-be residents that North Dakota offers opportunities for families, for workers and for businesses.
“We are building an environment where people can live larger and businesses can grow faster. North Dakota offers career opportunities, family-friendly communities, great schools and a balance that gives the best of life in the city or country,” touts the campaign.
According to Mike Nowatzki, a spokesman in Gov. Doug Burgum’s office, the state is in the process of onboarding vendors to assist with further workforce marketing efforts. That’s good to hear, and especially as some 18,000 unfilled jobs remain in North Dakota.
To help address that, the governor’s Accelerate ND plan proposes nearly $400 million for workforce and economic development. Among the multi-point plan is $35 million in matching grants for companies expanding benefits and incentives to attract talent from other states and for local efforts to address the state’s workforce shortage, and $21 million for housing redevelopment to address housing needs in rural areas of the state.
The opportunities in the state’s cities and in the western oil fields are everywhere, evidenced by the growing population and numerous job openings in those places. But another perk to living in North Dakota is the life that exists in small towns, where the pace is slower, the schools are smaller and yet where opportunity – thanks to advances in remote working – is endless.
Yes, the “good life” exists here in North Dakota, and the state has been marketing it for some time.
Now, as other states escalate their own marketing campaigns, is a good time to renew all efforts to invite guests and potential residents to come to North Dakota, whether for a lifetime or just a visit. These efforts take funding, and the people who oversee the checkbook – lawmakers – must understand the competition that exists nationwide not only for workers and potential residents, but also for tourism, which benefits so many businesses, industries and communities throughout the state.
This other view is the opinion of the editorial board of our sister publication, the Grand Forks Herald.