Dakota Download Governor Burgum's Weekly Update - March 17, 2024

Burgum visits Wahpeton for tour of ag manufacturing facilities

On Monday, Gov. Burgum spent the day in Wahpeton visiting agriculture processing and manufacturing facilities and speaking at the Wahpeton Community Development Corp. (CDC) evening event with community and business leaders.

Burgum began the day touring Minn-Dak Cooperative, a sugar beet processing facility, and meeting with board members to discuss the challenges and goals of the agriculture processing industry in North Dakota.

The governor also visited Vaderstad, a manufacturer of tillage, seeding and planting equipment. Vaderstad recently acquired Wil-Rich, Concord and Wishek brands in 2021 and are in the process of building their North American headquarters in a new 43,000-square-foot office.

In the evening, Burgum attended the Wahpeton CDC's annual meeting, discussing the great things the City of Wahpeton is doing to compete for workforce and build a healthy, vibrant community.

Commerce Awards $4.1 Million in grants to boost regional workforce solutions

The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced that 18 organizations were approved for $4,191,640 through the Regional Workforce Impact Program (RWIP) in round 1. The RWIP provides grants to regional workforce entities in North Dakota to design and implement innovative plans to address their region’s most demanding workforce challenges.

"The RWIP is a great opportunity for communities and regions in North Dakota to create lasting solutions for our workforce challenges," Commerce Workforce Director Katie Ralston Howe said. "We're excited to announce the recent recipients of this first round and impressed by the innovative, impactful, locally led solutions they proposed. We're eager to see how these projects unfold!"

The RWIP recipients include:

  • The City of Alexander was funded $500,000 to build a new childcare facility for approximately 70 children.
  • The Divide County EDC was funded $72,000 to develop a marketing campaign to attract new residents and workers to Divide County.
  • The McKenzie County JDA was funded $4,855 to create a magazine showcasing McKenzie County's lifestyle advantages to attract and retain a skilled workforce.
  • Williams County was funded $11,400 to develop a video series to introduce the community and its offerings, aiming to attract families and talent.
  • Golden Kids Early Learning and Childcare Center was funded $215,323 to renovate and expand their existing childcare facility to create additional spaces for 3–5-year-olds.
  • The Minot Area Chamber EDC was funded $250,000 to promote the WayFinders initiative, a targeted national campaign to attract employees to the Minot area.
  • The Rugby Convention and Visitors Bureau was funded $63,425 to participate in a documentary series called "My Town" to showcase Rugby and attract new residents and workers.
  • The Souris Basin Planning Council was funded $241,500 to develop a regional identity and messaging strategy to attract a diverse and skilled workforce.
  • St. Therese Little Flower Parish was funded $188,028 to remodel a vacant convent into a childcare facility offering early childhood and Montessori care for up to 25 children.
  • StrengthenND was funded $250,000 to support the creation of marketing materials that will leverage and increase engagement for the "Find the Good Life" campaign in Region 3.
  • The Grand Forks Region EDC was funded $223,191 to implement a three-pronged approach to retain talent in the region.
  • The Grand Forks Region EDC was funded an additional $100,000 to conduct a study on the workforce needs that will drive an action plan and talent attraction strategy implementation of the UAS and manufacturing sectors in Region 4.
  • Park River Area Schools was funded $500,000 to construct a new early learning center.
  • Little Miracles Learning Center was funded $433,248 to construct a new childcare building to increase the number of available childcare slots.
  • Small Wonders Preschool and Child Care Center was funded $500,000 to relocate and expand their childcare center to a new, more cost-effective location.
  • James Valley CTE was funded $500,000 to expand their existing childcare center by renovating an indoor space.
  • The Valley City Barnes County Development Corporation was funded $71,220 to utilize data to identify target communities for talent attraction.
  • The Wishek JDA was funded $67,450 to update and remodel the lower level of their community daycare building to expand capacity.

Round 2 of the RWIP is currently open until April 1, 2024, and eligible communities can visit nd.gov/RWIP to apply.

VIDEO: ND National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters fight Missouri River ice jams

Registration is now open for the Governor's Summit on Innovative Education on June 17 at Bismarck State College

The eighth annual Governor's Summit on Innovative Education inspires innovation and reimagines learning in schools across North Dakota.

The summit's theme is "Navigating the Future: AI's Role in Education." Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the world of learning, work and living. Harnessing the potential of AI while recognizing the critical importance of human interaction can provide endless opportunities for personalizing the educational experience.

Join the conversation on June 17 at Bismarck State College and learn how to maximize AI, hear from leading industry experts and identify strategies that empower educators to use this as a tool to transform the classroom.

ND state parks reveals construction plans for Pembina Gorge State Park

The North Dakota Parks & Recreation Department (NDPRD) is excited to move forward with development of the state’s 14th state park at the Pembina Gorge State Recreation Area (PGSRA) and is currently accepting construction bids for the project.

Located near Walhalla, Pembina Gorge State Park will feature approximately six cabins and over 50 RV sites. Power and water hook-ups will be included for each site. The campground will also allow for numerous walk-in primitive tent sites.

Plans include family-friendly restroom and shower facilities along the southern portion of the campground to accommodate multiple guests. Vault toilets will also be constructed throughout the campground.

As an already sought-after destination with an expansive trail system in the region, the park will provide additional parking to accommodate off-highway vehicle (OHV) and snowmobile users to connect to the extensive trail system within PGSRA and the surrounding region. The park will remain open for hiking, equestrian and OHV use.

As a frequent sought-after destination with a well-established trail system, the Pembina Gorge area already welcomes off-highway vehicle and snowmobile users, and the new park’s expanded parking will offer even more access to motorized recreation.

A groundbreaking is scheduled for mid-May at the future state park site. Additional details about time and location will be provided as the date nears.

The 2023 Legislature approved $6 million dollars for the new park facilities. The additional $2 million for the initial development comes from a matching federal Land and Water Conservation Fund grant.

The development of the Pembina Gorge into a state park has been a more than 10-year effort that continues to be supported by our public and private partners. The project was started through a master planning effort that was completed in 2014. This plan was created to establish and guide a long-term vision for visitor experience, facility development, resource conservation and management of this property.

“We’re incredibly excited to break ground on this long-awaited project,” said NDPRD Director Cody Schulz. “Our vision is to enhance and grow the area into an overnight destination property that draws visitors throughout all four seasons.”

The love for the Pembina Gorge runs deep through the Rendezvous Region of northeastern North Dakota, across the state and across borders. A top destination for adventure seekers, the PGSRA encompasses 2,800 acres of public land in the scenic Pembina River Gorge. With steep valley cliffs towering over small, isolated prairies and pocketed wetlands surrounded by the largest continuous, undisturbed forest in North Dakota, the area’s unique beauty offers many reasons to visit.

Future development of the park may include a visitor center with indoor and outdoor learning areas, connecting trails and a nature-themed playground.

Burgum statement on passing of former North Dakota First Lady Grace Link

Gov. Doug Burgum released the following statement regarding the passing of former First Lady Grace Link, who died Tuesday at age 105. The wife of former Gov. Art Link, Grace Link served alongside her husband through his entire political career spanning terms in the North Dakota House of Representatives (1946-70) including serving as speaker of the House (1964-70), the U.S. House of Representatives (1971-73) and as the 27th governor of North Dakota (1973-81). Art Link died in 2010.

“A partner to Gov. Art Link in every sense of the word, Grace Link was a dedicated and passionate public servant to both the state of North Dakota and our nation,” Burgum said. “Her strong belief in preserving and promoting the history of North Dakota continues to benefit our residents to this day in facilities such as the North Dakota Heritage Center and the Former Governors’ Mansion State Historic Site. As Gov. Link’s partner and political confidant, her time as first lady was impactful, driven by compassion and commitment to the citizens of North Dakota and the Bismarck community in which she lived. Those who had the good fortune of meeting her were always touched by her genuine kindness, warm smile and innate toughness from her upbringing as a farmer’s daughter during the Great Depression. Kathryn and I extend our deepest condolences and prayers to the Link family and all the friends and former colleagues of Grace and Art Link – one of North Dakota’s truly legendary couples.”

USAF Concert Band & Singing Sergeants Spring Tour comes to North Dakota

The U.S. Air Force Concert Band is coming to North Dakota for their spring tour. They will be performing April 4-6 in Bismarck, Jamestown and Fargo and all performances are free.

North Dakota is home to two Air Force bases in Minot and Grand Forks. The programs also recognize the retired and active military veterans from all branches of service along with their families during every event.

North Dakota continually ranks among the top states in military friendliness and is continually working to be the most military friendly state in the nation. In 2023, the state exempted military pay from state income tax, expanded tuition assistance for Guard members and cut red tape for military child care providers.

All the details about these free concerts and how to register for the tickets are on the Air Force Concert Band's website. Just click on the city and date. There is no ticket needed to attend.

Applications being accepted for Governor’s Band/Orchestra Program and Choral Program

Gov. Burgum is encouraging school, community and church bands, orchestras and choirs across North Dakota to apply to serve as the Governor’s Official State Band/Orchestra Program and Choral Program for the 2024-2025 school year.

The Governor and First Lady will select the Governor’s Band/Orchestra Program and Governor’s Choral Program from the applications received based on musical talent, achievement and community involvement. The governor may invite the band/orchestra and chorus to perform at official state functions held throughout the year, including the State of the State Address.

Interested groups should submit an application, references and a musical recording to the Governor’s Office by 5 p.m. Thursday, March 28. The Governor’s Band/Orchestra Program and Governor’s Choral Program will be announced in April and may be invited to perform at the Capitol in May 2024 and at events throughout the 2024-2025 school year. Please complete the application and provide materials at governor.nd.gov/governors-chorus-and-bandorchestra-program-application.