As employers across sectors struggle to hire, one of the most pressing issues in the Northland continues to be workforce retention and expansion. Since 2013, Northspan has powered the NORTHFORCE program in an effort to address growing labor shortages in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.
NORTHFORCE at a Glance:
Total Candidates: 4,845 (includes 961 candidates from outside the region)
Total Employers: 1,344
Total Jobs Posted: 14,982
New Candidate Sign Ups: 295 (42 from outside the region)
Total Candidates Engaged: 517
New Employer Sign Ups: 114
Total Employers Engaged: 208
Jobs Posted: 2,824
Here are some highlights from this program year:
- Ali Bilden Camps joined the NORTHFORCE technical team as Northspan consultant and NORTHFORCE program manager. With over 15 years of nonprofit management and community development experience, Ali brings added strategic oversight and leadership to the NORTHFORCE program, strengthening Northspan’s commitment to the program.
- Ash Luna joined the NORTHFORCE technical team as Northspan operations specialist. Ash provides a broad range of technical support, including making improvements to NORTHFORCE’s data reporting abilities, maintaining NORTHFORCE web content, and coordinating social media.
- BeNorth.org (formerly NorthByChoice.org) rebranded to enhance its alignment with Northspan’s Welcoming Community program and expanded with resources related to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts throughout the region. BeNorth provides an online directory of regional resources for individuals looking to move to the area or relocate within it.
- NORTHFORCE coordinated Business Meet & Greets. These free online events were open to the public and helped candidates meet with eight Northland employers. The sessions were recorded and are available on the NORTHFORCE Youtube Playlist.
- NORTHFORCE also coordinated a semester of Student Connect programming to help area students learn about local labor markets and connect with Northland employers.
- The NORTHFORCE Advisory Committee continued to meet quarterly to inform and steer the program. Committee representatives combine perspectives from a wide range of entities, providing a think-tank approach to regional workforce development.
- The NORTHFORCE blog and newsletters continued to engage candidates with features exploring Northland labor markets and emphasizing the high quality of life available in this region. Content engaging employers included an op ed series published by the Duluth News Tribune with information on employment trends and tips on best practices for attracting and retaining talent.
- NORTHFORCE helped coordinate the Discover Health Care event in October 2022. Other new initiatives include working to provide critical gap services for the region’s workforce development system. This may involve hosting similar events in the future. Construct Tomorrow (scheduled for Spring 2023) is one example, and the creation of a Child Care Pipeline is another key part of these early-stage efforts.
NORTHFORCE connects career-minded individuals with professional advancement opportunities and supports our regional employers’ current and future workforce needs. It distinguishes itself from other job board sites through its local focus and hands-on approach. NORTHFORCE job listings are curated by community members and staff who support the advisory committee’s collective vision. Learn more at northforce.org or reach out to NORTHFORCE Program Coordinator Ali Bilden Camps at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.