Fueling Our Future (FOF) leadership has been busy at work since the initial kickoff in May 2019. Following our pillars of People, Prosperity, and Place, our Governance Board has dedicated resources to various priorities identified in our kick-off program of work. Below are some updates on our progress.


Career Workforce Academies

What is a Career Workforce Academy?
Career Workforce Academies provide opportunities for elementary through adult learners in career awareness, exploration, pathways, development and training. This is, in part, accomplished through hands-on career training and program opportunities for those interested in a technical degree. Due to their focus on regional workforce and employer needs, academies help alleviate long-term workforce shortages.

How does this fit into FOF's scope of work?
This exciting project fits under our People pillar. Career Academies in Cass and Clay counties will serve as a long-term solution to helping alleviate regional workforce shortage. It will also support regional growth. With our People pillar focusing on talent for the present and future, this initiative addresses workforce challenges through retention and development.

What is FOF doing to support this initiative?
FOF dedicated resources to help the “Yes for Moorhead” volunteer support group get the 2019 School Bond Referendum passed as it included plans for the Clay Career Academy. The referendum passed with 75% of voters in support of the initiative. On the Cass County Career Academy Project, we continue to message the importance of this initiative to the Cass County Commission as they consider supporting the cause with public money. FOF is also researching best practice for collaboration among the Career Academies and business community to provide the necessary opportunities for students enrolled in the academies.


Shovel-Ready Sites Program

What is a Shovel-Ready Site?
Shovel-Ready Sites have much of the planning, zoning, surveys, title work, environmental studies, soils analysis and public infrastructure engineering already completed. This saves time and money for businesses looking to move to a region or for existing companies looking to expand in their region.

How does this fit into FOF's scope of work?
This initiative focuses on recruiting businesses to our region as well as giving existing companies a place to expand, thus it falls under our Prosperity pillar. With our region currently having one certified property, the MCCARA Industrial Park in Moorhead, it was determined that a fully integrated regional program would improve our ability to attract new business and support regional companies critical to the overall growth of our regional economy.

What is FOF doing to support this initiative?
FOF hosted national site location consultant, Phil Schneider, to begin the process of establishing the region and State of North Dakota’s first shovel-ready sites program. In January 2020, the initial phase of work will begin to create the program, identify sites, certify 2-4 locations and market the sites.


Business Accelerator

What is a business accelerator?
A business accelerator is a program that gives startups access to mentorship, investors and additional assistance to support growth and stability. Business that participate in such a program have the potential to expand their companies within the region of the accelerator enhancing economic growth.

How does this fit into FOF's scope of work?
The AgTech accelerator falls into both our Prosperity and Place pillars. Attracting startups to our region to expand and grow allows for further economic growth as it supports job creation and attracts a qualified workforce. This project also contributes to our Place pillar as it further establishes the region as an attractive business location.

What is FOF doing to support this initiative?
FOF has contingently dedicated resources to this accelerator as two or three more anchor tenants are needed for the project to move forward. The group has also encouraged organizations with a potential to support this project to consider doing so.