Thursday, November 08, 2018

North Dakota town, hungry for workers, starts program to get high-school grads to return after getting tech degrees

Unemployment is at a 50-year low, "five of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment are also among the most rural of states,"and tight job market always forces employers to get creative in hiring," the Christian Science Monitor reports. "But a worker shortage is especially challenging in places that are often overlooked: small rural towns."

Sperling's Best Places map, adapted
Reporter Laurent Belsie writes, "Large swatches of the rural countryside are losing population or barely holding their own. As a result, rural communities are trying creative ways to cope. In Devils Lake, N.D., local businesses have just agreed on a tuition reimbursement program for high school graduates who promise to return and work after getting a technical degree. The idea: If they come back for a job, they’ll stay and raise families. Fully 80 percent of tuition will be covered, mostly by each student’s sponsoring business."

Brad Barth, head of the local economic development agency, told Belsie, “We talked to 15 businesses in two weeks and they were all in.” Doug Darling, president of the local Lake Region State College, says that “if we work together on these things, I think it’s going to help.”

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