Grants by the North Dakota Regional Workforce Impact Program: Offsetting the cost of local solutions

Grants by the North Dakota Regional Workforce Impact Program: Offsetting the cost of local solutions Main Photo

4 Apr 2023


With a view to helping regional workforce agencies, the North Dakota Regional Workforce Impact Program (RWIP) provides grants in North Dakota to design and implement innovative plans to address their region’s most demanding workforce challenges. The grant program will respond to the negative impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the workforce and industries by encouraging regions and communities to develop sustainable, innovative solutions to help businesses find workers, and help workers and job seekers prepare for and connect to better, higher-quality and better-paying jobs. The RWIP grant aims to offset the cost of local solutions that will have a regional impact. Funds may be provided as a resource to implement a long-term solution to permanently mitigate workforce participation issues. 

An interview with Sandra Shively, ED, North Central Planning Council

We spoke to Sandra Shively, Executive Director, North Central Planning Council, who has been dealing with the entire process of the  ND Dept of Commerce people on the grant application and the complex process of getting the two projects  that Forward Devils Lake was a part of approved – budget setting and dollars received and expended:

1.    What are some of the biggest challenges you faced while working on the grant application for the Regional Workforce Impact Program, and how did you overcome them?  

The application process involved working with economic development professionals to determine the best course for the regional grant proposal.  As a group, we collectively kicked around a number of ideas before landing on funding for daycares and the mobile career exploration classroom.  We had lots of ideas that didn’t necessarily meet the guidelines of the program that would have also been great projects to address workforce issues in the region.

2.    Can you walk us through the process of getting the two projects for Region 3 and Forward Devils Lake approved, and how did you ensure that budgets were done and dollars were received and expended effectively? 

 Once the project ideas were determined by the Region III group, NCPC was able to complete the application to the ND Department of Commerce for review. North Central Planning Council staff and the economic development professionals in the region collaborated to determine the best use of funds and make sure that all project costs are allowable.  The local match that is required by the grant has taken some effort to obtain.  A match is provided either by economic development offices, cities, or counties in Region III and business sponsors will also be sought. 

3.    What are some of the key outcomes that you hope to achieve through the Regional Workforce Impact Program, and how do you plan to measure the success of the program in the long term?

There are two key outcomes for this project.  For the daycare-funded projects, the goal was to create new daycare facilities or expand existing facilities to increase the number of childcare slots in the region.  The outcome of the Mobile Career Exploration Classroom is to expose junior and high school students to careers that are available in the region.  This will also allow employers the opportunity to engage students and get them interested in what is available in the region for career options.

The mission at Forward Devils Lake is to foster and develop existing and new businesses and industries in the lake region! Contact us here for more information. 

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