Dakota Download Governor Burgum's Weekly Update - December 22, 2023

Governor, First Lady celebrate opening of Good Road Recovery Center expansion

Facility provides drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services to MHA Nation’s enrolled members

On Wednesday, Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Burgum attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the expansion of MHA Nation's Good Road Recovery Center in Bismarck.

"No longer do MHA members have to leave North Dakota for treatment and recovery services. They can receive those services locally," Gov. Burgum said. "With this expansion, you’ll be able to make a difference in the lives of even more individuals fighting their own battles with the disease of addiction."

The original 20,000-square-foot facility opened five years ago to address the needs of MHA members to find treatment and recovery services in-state, close to family and fellow enrolled members.

This new expansion provides an additional 6,788 square feet of administrative and community spaces in the outpatient treatment center to help support clients. Additional care cottages were also added to the campus to provide long-term care and support for individuals in treatment.

Burgum welcomes new record population estimate of 783,926 for North Dakota from U.S. Census Bureau

Data shows reversal of outmigration trend, more people moving to state

Gov. Burgum on Thursday announced a record high population estimate for North Dakota this year, with the U.S. Census Bureau showing the state’s population reached a new all-time high of 783,926 residents as of July 1, 2023.

The estimate released this week represents an increase of 4,665 residents from last year’s estimate and is 4,847 residents more than the official 2020 census count. North Dakota was one of 42 states that saw their population estimates increase this year.

“North Dakota continues working to attract and retain residents by building healthy, vibrant communities, cutting taxes and supporting economic development, and we’re encouraged that a record number of residents are enjoying our state’s outstanding quality of life for the second straight year,” Burgum said.

North Dakota’s 2022 population estimate of 779,261 was a record at the time, and it indicated that a population loss experienced from the 2020 official census to the 2021 estimate – attributed mainly to outmigration and the impact of lower oil prices – had begun to reverse. Estimates are reported as of July 1 of each year, while the official 10-year census is as of April 1 of years ending in a zero.

“This week’s release from the Census Bureau shows that the pattern of migration since the pandemic has switched from a net loss of residents to a net gain in the most recent timeframe,” said Kevin Iverson, State Data Center manager at the North Dakota Department of Commerce.

With the estimate released this week, North Dakota remains the 47th most populous state, ahead of Alaska and behind South Dakota.

Since 2010, North Dakota has been among the nation’s fastest-growing states, estimated to have grown by more than 16% since 2010. Only six states – Idaho, Utah, Texas, Florida, Nevada and Colorado – are estimated to have grown by a higher percentage since 2010.

Miller attends opening of new smart battery facility

Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller joined in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday for the new Packet Digital battery manufacturing facility expansion in Fargo.

The 25,000-square-foot addition includes a surface mount technology (SMT) line which will allow Packet Digital to manufacture its own printed circuit boards in-house.

"We are excited and grateful that you chose to continue to invest in, design, test and manufacture smart batteries and power systems for cutting-edge UAS platforms right here in North Dakota," Miller said. "Your decision to grow right here in Fargo reduces our reliance on China. It also reduces supply chain risk, reduces shipping costs, and most importantly, through innovation, solves the toughest battery challenges and improves battery performance. We are also grateful for your role in national security, setting the standard for batteries and charging safety for the Navy fleet."

Packet Digital focuses on building smart, high-performance batteries and power system development for autonomous systems, including an emphasis on unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

Job Service ND hosting Virtual Job Fair Jan. 18

Job Service North Dakota is set to host a Virtual Job Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT on Jan. 18, 2024.

Job Service is offering a unique opportunity for job seekers to explore diverse career paths and connect with employers in various industries. The event caters to individuals interested in information technology, UAS, health care, oil and gas, engineering, skilled trades, transportation, manufacturing, government and education. This virtual job fair presents a chance for attendees to blaze their way into promising career opportunities.

North Dakota, with its thriving job market, is inviting individuals to discover the North Dakota Good Life with one of the nation's lowest unemployment rates coming in at 1.4% and over 14,000 job openings available.

Beyond the professional landscape, North Dakota boasts the one of the happiest workforces and lowest commute times in the nation, offering a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle. Job seekers attending the Virtual Job Fair can explore prospects in a range of industries, making this event a stepping stone toward a rewarding career in a state that prioritizes both professional success and personal well-being.

NDDOT awards $10M in Township Assistance Program funding

The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) has selected 22 projects to fund through the newly created Township Assistance Program (TAP).

Legislation creating the TAP was approved by the 68th Legislative Assembly and signed by Gov. Doug Burgum last spring. The program provides $10 million to NDDOT for improvements on township roads and bridges, using state funds to improve local corridors that are considered economic generators.

NDDOT worked with partners from Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, North Dakota Association of Counties and North Dakota Township Officers Association to develop the program.

“This program is providing much-needed funding to improve rural roads and bridges in townships across North Dakota,” Burgum said. “Investing now will help ensure our citizens have safe and reliable routes throughout the state for decades to come.”

Townships worked with the county to submit their applications. The TAP received applications for 284 projects totaling $66.7 million in requested funds. Twenty-one projects met program criteria and were fully funded. One alternative project will be partially funded and receive any unspent funds from other projects. For a complete list of projects visit www.dot.nd.gov/townshipprogram.

“The response to the Township Assistance Program was immense,” NDDOT Director Ron Henke said. “We realize there is still a great deal of need for funding on the county level, and we will be reaching out to unsuccessful applicants to gather information for consideration through the Flexible Transportation Fund.”

The Flexible Transportation Fund is a different funding formula also enacted by the Legislature last session. For more information visit www.dot.nd.gov/flexfund. The deadline to apply is Dec. 31.

Governor's Photo Contest deadline approaching

The 2023 North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest for Travel and Tourism submission deadline is approaching, with the contest open now through Jan. 31, 2024.

This year’s competition highlights the unique characteristics of the four seasons, with photo entry categories of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

New submission methods available this year include photo entry via Instagram and a direct online upload. One winner will be selected in each category, and a $200 cash prize will be awarded to the photographer of each selected photo. Additional honorable mentions may be selected in each category, with photographers receiving $50 and North Dakota merchandise. A Best of Show photo will be selected from the winning photographs, and the photographer will receive an additional $300 cash prize and a free, one-year basic membership to AAA.

In addition to the prize money, winning photographs may be used in North Dakota Tourism’s newsletters, promotional materials and social channels as well as AAA publications and social media channels. Winning photographs will be displayed on the 18th, or observatory floor, of the State Capitol mid-April through May of 2024, through a partnership with the North Dakota Council on the Arts.