FARGO, ND – Governor Doug Burgum delivered his 2022 State of the State address today, highlighting the state’s efforts to address North Dakota’s workforce challenges and develop and diversify the economy.
Speaking to business leaders, lawmakers, elected officials across the state, local leaders, students and other members of the public at the Fargo Theater and online, Burgum said, “The state of our state is strong and growing stronger every day with our unwavering belief in the limitless potential of North Dakota and its people. He noted that the state has over 30,000 open jobs and stressed the need to address its workforce challenges on multiple fronts.
“Our economy is growing, our infrastructure is second to none and our rainy day funds are full. Now we need to focus our efforts and resources on infrastructure that supports strong families and strong communities,” Burgum said. “Our employees need support to increase labor flexibility and mobility. Our fellow citizens deserve quality education for all ages, from early childhood to higher education. Our families need affordable and reliable child care. Our communities need behavioral health resources and equipment for all generations.
Burgum signed legislation releasing $250 million in workforce investments, including required matching funds, during the November special session of the 67and Legislative Assembly. Since then, the State Board for Career and Technical Education has awarded $20 million to three career centers in Dickinson, Minot and Watford City, and this week a review panel recommended allocating the remaining $68 million. to career academies in other cities across the state.
Nearly $40 million will be used to establish the state’s first polytechnic center at Bismarck State College to create programs and programs to meet the needs of students and their future employers, Burgum noted. Millions more will be directed to ideas and solutions for the regional workforce, and nearly $20 million will be used to advance reliable and affordable child care.
Burgum announced that this week the five North Dakota community college presidents signed a protocol of agreement with Western Governors University to provide a streamlined and seamless transfer to WGU’s online college courses. North Dakota signed the original WGU charter under the direction of the government of the day. Ed Schafer at the Western Governors’ Association meeting 25 years ago, and Burgum said the state is eager to rekindle its partnership to improve offerings for students of all ages and backgrounds.
“Over the next year, our administration will continue to work with businesses, associations and licensing boards to cut red tape and ensure citizens can work without cumbersome and outdated rules and regulations. We can and should be dedicated to creating the most open and transferable professional licensing system in the country,” Burgum said.
Burgum also called for expanding the state’s automation tax credit to provide companies with the support they need to turn unwanted jobs into automated processes and reskill team members for reliable careers. and long term. Since the automation credit was made available in 2013, 107 businesses have taken advantage of it, and Burgum said the state “needs to double that tax credit and make it the most most ambitious and expansive to date”.
Efforts continue to grow and diversify the state’s economy while adding value to energy and agricultural products, Burgum noted. In the past year alone, the companies announced plans for a $350 million soybean mill at Spiritwood, a $350 million wet corn mill in Grand Forks, a 2.8 billion in Williams County, a hydrogen hub near Beulah, a $1.9 billion data center near Williston, and a $4.5 billion pipeline and carbon storage project. Burgum thanked Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford for his instrumental role in several major economic development projects as well as successful efforts to save Coal Creek Station from closure.
“This massive investment in our state did not happen by accident. It is the culmination of years, if not decades, of deliberate efforts to build one of the most stable and business-friendly tax and regulatory environments in the country,” Burgum said.
While the North Dakota Department of Commerce has committed to more than $30 billion in projects since announcing a goal to make the state carbon neutral by 2030 through innovation, Burgum said: “It is time for us to keep our foot on the accelerator, not to take advantage of our carbon storage potential, but to use it to increase our oil production by more than 8 billion barrels, to use it to grow food year-round in greenhouses and as a raw material for manufacturing.
“We are well positioned to be the world leader in developing new carbon markets. It’s time we took the lead and ushered in a new phase of economic development in North Dakota,” he said.
The governor thanked the medical community and first responders for their lifesaving work during the COVID-19 pandemic and shared his gratitude with firefighters in attendance from multiple local, state and federal agencies who battled a record number of blazes from forest during last year’s historic drought. He also described several steps taken last year to make North Dakota one of the most military-friendly states in the nation, including exempting military retirement pay from income tax. from the state and full funding for the National Guard Tuition Assistance Program.
A historic $680 million bond package was passed last spring, and investments in major infrastructure projects are making the state more resilient to droughts and floods, improving transportation systems and making North Dakota a national leader in broadband access, Burgum said.
The governor outlined progress on the administration’s five strategic initiatives: Tribal Engagement, Reimagining Government, Behavioral Health and Addictions, Education Transformation, and the Main Street Initiative.
A full transcript and video of the speech will be available at a later date.