NORTHFORCE Program Update 2023

Northspan’s NORTHFORCE program had a busy year helping candidates and employers connect against the backdrop of ongoing workforce shortages in the Northland. The past twelve months have been pivotal with unemployment remaining low even as job numbers reach record highs, leading to speculation that we may be in the midst of a historic paradigm shift characterized by many mismatches in labor market data

“There seems to be a growing awareness that, in order to stay in operation, employers need to adopt increasingly active hiring practices, such as posting jobs online and getting out into the community to connect directly with prospective hires at networking events like career fairs,” shares Northspan Consultant and NORTHFORCE Program Manager Ali Bilden Camps. “Within this context, NORTHFORCE has made a number of subtle strategic changes this year, while continuing to provide our core services, which are needed now more than ever.” 

NORTHFORCE at a Glance


  • New in 2023: 447
  • All Time Signups: 5,435


  • New in 2023: 68
  • All Time Signups: 1,430

Job Posts 

  • New in 2023: 1,573
  • All Time Posted: 17,116

Several key NORTHFORCE projects and initiatives from the past twelve months have focused on strengthening talent pipelines and improving the flow of talent to industries experiencing high demand in the Northland, such as child care and health care. We coordinated several major events to connect candidates with employers, including the Discover Health Care expo in Ashland and a career fair series at Minnesota North College campuses across the Iron Range. 

Healthcare professionals shared first aid tactics at this booth for the Discover Health Care event at Northwood Technical College in Ashland, Wisconsin, on April 28, 2023.

In October, we began to offer a Workforce Solutions luncheon series at Clyde Iron to provide employers with data, expert insights, and creative strategies for hiring and talent retention. We also conducted a workshop on practices for inclusive hiring and retention during the Equity Summit 2023.  

With guidance from a 35-person Advisory Committee, NORTHFORCE continued to offer unlimited job posts for area employers, as well as curated job matches for registered candidates, among other free services. Regular newsletters highlighted local employers and provided insider leads for area job openings along with industry overviews, city spotlights, and more resources. This past year also saw the continuation of an op ed series in the Duluth News Tribune sharing best practices and insights into market data trends. Visit the NORTHFORCE blog to check out these and more features. 

Reach out to NORTHFORCE Program Coordinator Ali Bilden Camps at or (218) 481-7737 for more info. You can also visit the NORTHFORCE website to post jobs, search jobs, and access regional resources for free.