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Bringing refugees to rural North Dakota, where there is a workforce shortage


A group hoping to grow rural populations in North Dakota by recruiting refugees meets Saturday in Carrington.

The group is called “CATCH” — "Communities Acting Together for Change and Hope."

Bill Patrie of Bismarck is a member of the group. He said the number of refugees in the world right now is getting close to the number of refugees after World War Two. And he said at the same time, rural places need workers. So Patrie said the group decided to work on a more formal structure, to help facilitate refugee settlement in rural North Dakota.

Patrie said there is a growing awareness of the plight of refugees – especially because of Ukraine.

"Folks are suffering," Patrie said. "They need a house, they need somebody to care for them, they need jobs."

Patrie said it comes as the same time as "Help Wanted" signs dot the rural landscape.

"When rural communities step up and organize, and say, 'We need workers. We can teach English as a second language. We can teach you how to drive in winter conditions,'" Patrie said. "It's kind of a new era."

The group will meet at the Chieftan.

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