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When more than 500 human resources professionals were asked if their company had a job opening, hands went up all over a conference room in Bismarck.

North Dakota Job Service reports 14,500 online open job postings in the state. Gov. Doug Burgum estimated that number is closer to 30,000 as he wrapped up the Governor’s Workforce and Human Resources Conference this week.

Filling those jobs requires companies pitching candidates on why they should want to live in their communities in addition to why they should want to work for their company, according to Burgum.

And he challenged those companies to invest in their communities’ amenities as a form of workforce recruitment.

“If you’re using it for recruiting, that’s the thing you should be supporting,” he said.

For example, Great River Energy power cooperative sponsors the Washburn farmers market held at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and recently the cooperative donated fly ash concrete to Painted Woods Golf Course near Washburn.

“Where GRE has facilities, we like to partner and support the local communities because we’re part of that community and we have employees and families that live in those communities,” said company spokesman Lyndon Anderson. “It’s very important to us.”

Anderson said he’s also heard from current employees that they appreciate how community minded GRE is.

Burgum also highlighted a number of resources being made available to cities to build up their amenities.

The North Dakota Department of Commerce was awarded $2.3 million in federal funds to distribute through its community development program,  which is “aimed at improving main streets, public facilities and services.”

At least $500,000 of that will be used on items that meet the governor’s Main Street Initiative.

“Funds will be made available to rehabilitate building exteriors or make other exterior improvements. Public facility projects could include the acquisition, construction, reconstruction or installation of public works facilities or other improvements. Public services funds, in the form of operational costs, will be made available to existing and new agencies that support programs related to addiction and recovery,” according to the governor’s office.

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Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or


Business Reporter