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Good Jobs Challenge grant awarded to FMWF Chamber Foundation

The grant will help form the Ignite Initiative Regional Workforce Training System.

As part of the American Rescue Plan, 32 training partnerships and systems across the country were awarded a collective $500 million as part of the Good Jobs Challenge.

One of these partnerships is the Ignite Initiative Workforce Training Initiative, which delivers training and development through the Fargo-Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. Shannon Full is President and CEO of the Chamber. She says Ignite will train individuals in agriculture, manufacturing and technology jobs through the grant.

"Out of 509 applications that spanned the country, we were the only one awarded in Minnesota and North Dakota - $9.621 million."

Jenna Muller is the Executive Director at the Chamber Foundation. She says this initiative will focus on a pocket of the population that struggles with employment opportunities.

"This system will establish a systematic, regional approach to workforce development and retention, within three of our rapidly growing and expanding industries. Its primary focus involves our communities populations of justice involved persons, BIPOC, veterans, new Americans and immigrants, and our youth. Individuals within these primary population groups are eligible to receive wrap around services that reduce or dissolve the effects of known barriers to education, credentialing and upscaling - such as transportation and child care."

Muller says this system will take about ten to twelve months to implement, and will be able to train at least 900 people at once that will have the potential to earn $59 million in salary impacts. But Muller says the impact will reach even further than the economic benefits.

"We know that equitable investments into workforce breeds innovation. Innovation drives talent, innovation drives culture, innovation drives branding and puts us on the map. Impact extends beyond the greater Fargo-Moorhead region. Our partnership with the EDA will communicate lessons learned and best practices throughout a larger community of practice, across the nation, for suggested implementation in other markets. In a single announcement, we gained 31 brilliant and passionate cohort organizations across the nation to workshop, troubleshoot and share our approaches with."

In total, 31 states and one US Territory – Puerto Rico – will be impacted through this challenge.