<< All News Wednesday, May 22, 2024 - 09:30 am

 The North Dakota Department of Commerce today published findings and initial recommendations for the state Office of Legal Immigration from consultants Labor and Mobility Partners and Dalberg Advisors’ statewide study in North Dakota, as well as guidance for a pilot grant program.


The Office of Legal Immigration (OLI) partnered with the consulting firms to analyze barriers, cultivate key learnings from other states, and propose initial recommendations to develop a robust strategy for the office.


With North Dakota's unemployment rate of 2% being the lowest in the nation for the third consecutive month, the state continues to need additional workers to fill the tens of thousands of jobs available, and one potential solution is rooted in the state’s rich history and heritage of welcoming immigrants. Many New Americans and immigrants already call North Dakota home, contributing to the state’s economy and quality of life. North Dakota attracts skilled workers from across the nation and around the globe, filling crucial roles and strengthening communities.


The study’s findings and initial recommendations have been used to develop a catalytic grant program. This program will help improve job opportunities and community connections. It will also offer education and support for employers and partners hiring foreign-born workers and for communities welcoming new families. Additionally, OLI aims to support policies that reduce barriers to employment and improve economic inclusion.


“This is another important step in our comprehensive efforts to address North Dakota’s workforce challenges, including through the recruitment and retention of legal immigrants,” Burgum said. “We are grateful to the employers and other stakeholders who participated in this study as we continue working to solve North Dakota’s workforce shortage, the biggest obstacle to growing our economy.:


“The findings and recommendations provided by our consultants will inform the long-term structure, activities and goals of the Office of Legal Immigration, and we are looking forward to the next phase of implementation,” Commerce Workforce Deputy Director Janna Pastir said. “We are proud of the thoughtful and comprehensive method being used to address this vital approach to integrating New Americans into our workforce and communities."


A full copy of the report can be read here: https://ndgov.link/OLI
OLI Grant Program can be accessed here: https://ndgov.link/OLIGrantProgram


The 2023 Legislature passed, and Gov. Doug Burgum signed, legislation creating OLI within Commerce to help businesses recruit and retain foreign labor and address the state’s workforce challenges. The bill required Commerce to conduct a study – with input from employers – on immigration opportunities, immigration goals and ways to measure progress, and a structure for a pilot program to support businesses and communities pursuing legal immigration. 

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