Every state in the U.S. found itself facing a massive labor shortage in the wake of the pandemic, but North Dakota’s logistical challenges were particularly daunting: in 2021, North Dakota had a stagnant population of 800,000, and 35,000 open jobs. Guess who was part of the solution? (Hint: It was Odney.)
When it came to attracting new residents to fill these jobs, the state didn’t have established national awareness to leverage; in fact, research showed that most people didn’t have a negative or positive perception of North Dakota — they didn’t have any perception of it at all.
North Dakota needed to look honestly at its unique assets when crafting a viable talent attraction strategy. The state has natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and great job opportunities, but the most valuable untapped resource ended up being something unexpected: the people.
The state’s small population is tight-knit, friendly, and prides itself on being welcoming. With current citizens eager to get involved to welcome newcomers, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, RoleCall and Odney honed in on an innovative idea: what if the state activated current residents to assist newcomers with the relocation process?
Some states offer new residents a financial incentive to relocate. North Dakota would engage its citizens to offer something much more meaningful: community and belonging.
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