Job Openings in Healthcare Account for Almost 20 Percent of the State’s Workforce Shortage


For the first time in recorded history, there are more jobs open in the US than people looking for them.

Like the rest of the country, North Dakota definitely has a workforce shortage. We have more than 15,000 job openings listed online with Job Service North Dakota, but after discussions with employers, Governor Doug Burgum estimates the state’s total job openings are closer to 30,000.

He adds, “But the number could be much higher.”

Governor Burgum says the shortage is thanks to a booming US economy.

He explains, “There are months in the United States where there are 250,000 and 300,000 new jobs being created every month. So we do not have enough people in the workforce to fill all those jobs.”

The Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center President told me they’re feeling it.

MSLCC President and CEO Reier Thompson shares, “I’ve been working here for five and a half years, and we’ve always been hiring.”

He’s not making this up. The May 2019 North Dakota Job Openings Report says of the 15,000 open jobs, healthcare needs almost 2,500 employees. That’s more than any other industry in the state.

Thompson adds, “Both hospitals, all the clinics, all the longterm care facilities: everyone could use a couple more nurses.”

And it’s essential to fill positions in an industry that’s needed 24/7, 365.

Thompson explains, “It sounds like there are people out there wanting to do it, but there’s just not enough educators to be able to educate them quick enough. There’s a bottleneck in the system.”

So how do we fill the gap?

The Governor tells KX News it’s all about building vibrant communities that bring more people into the state, so they can work.

He also says we could use more career and technical training, to help people gain the skills they need at any stage in life.

Governor Burgum “It causes us to think about the billions of dollars we spend on K-12 education and higher education. Are we spending that in the right way to equip people to be successful in this new economy? And so it completely changes how we have to think.”

He says we need to start by hiring non-traditional workers. It could be anyone who’s had a barrier in the past, like having a felony or even being disabled.

He mentioned a CEO who hires hundreds of people on the autism spectrum.

Missouri Slope launched their own CNA Training Program so they can hire and then train people on site.

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