With an estimated 30,000 jobs open in the state, North Dakota is looking at alternative ways to fill them.
Governor Doug Burgum says we need to keep identifying, and then, breaking down barriers to employment to ensure that every North Dakotan who wants to work has the opportunity.
KX News stopped by the ‘2nd Chance Job Fair’ today to learn more about filling the gap.
Bismarck’s ND Job Service office was filled with people who have had a hard time getting a job in the past. They’re looking to make a change.
ND Job Service Customer Service Area Director Phil Davis explains, “All of the employers that have agreed to be here today are hiring people with some type of background. It could be criminal, maybe they haven’t been in the job market before, and so it’s almost like starting over, or in some cases, it’s brand new to them. And so they’re giving people a chance to get into the job market.”
Others have been barred by homelessness, disabilities, serving in the military and now looking to re-enter the labor force, and so much more.
Tammi Hale is a single mom who struggled with addiction, both of which led to a gap in her employment, making it tough for her to find summer work.
She shares, “As a recovering alcoholic, I am able to get that chance of showing that I’m able to do the responsibilities of getting a job.”
On top of her job search, Hale is studying to become an addiction counselor these days.
Davis says 12 years ago, he was a veteran searching for a job, just like everyone else in this room.
He adds, “Well I think we’ve all needed a second chance in our life, and for all these people, a job is a very important part of your life.”
Prospera HR Director Alisha Ritter says they’re not too worried about the past, it’s all about filling jobs with people who want to work.
Ritter explains, “I think it’s more about looking at each individual person, and their unique experiences and their background, and just seeing if they can have a good fit with your company.”
Davis adds, “A lot of people that are here are here for a reason: they want to work. And that’s the benefit.”
And more importantly, it’s a reminder to those looking for that second chance, that they too are productive members of our community.
Last year about 150 people came out to connect with a future employer. Davis estimates 150 more lined up at Job Service’s door today.
In March, Governor Burgum signed legislation that will prohibit most public employers from considering the criminal history of an applicant, or even asking about it, until they’ve been selected for an interview.