JDA to offer grants for ND Career Builders

The Langdon City Commission recently approved $25,000 to be appropriated to the Cavalier County Job Development Authority (CCJDA) in order to provide grants to Cavalier County businesses to help with matching funds for the North Dakota Career Builders Scholarship and Loan Repayment Program.

“Workforce is such an issue everywhere,” said CCJDA Director Shannon Duerr. “Langdon is not alone; it’s throughout the whole state. A lot of our employers are having difficulties finding people.”

The ND Career Builders Scholarship and Loan Repayment program is a tool for businesses to recruit and retain talent in high-need and emerging occupations in the state. It is a state-business partnership that provides $1 of state funds for each $1 of private sector matching funds, up to a total of $17,000 per recipient. Many students are being offered student loan repayment when they’re looking for jobs. Putting this kind of program in place will help businesses in Cavalier County be more competitive.

“This is where JDA ‘s new program will come in,” said Duerr. “If the business is approved by the North Dakota University System and they have an employee selected, CCJDA will provide 50% of the business's match or 80% of non-profit's match.”

This means a business would only need to invest $4250 over a 3-year period for a student or employee to receive the maximum $17,000 in loan repayment. The investment for a nonprofit would be $1700. In return, the student would sign an agreement to live and work in the Cavalier County region and remain employed with the business for 3 years. The job position must be located in Cavalier County, and the occupation must be on the emerging and high demand occupation list developed by the state to be eligible for the funding. The categories on the list are education, engineering & architecture, financial, healthcare, information technology, management, professional/other, sales, skilled trade, social services, and transportation.

“There are several that would fit Cavalier County,” said Duerr. “There’s a lot of medical positions, so our hospital would benefit. There’s a lot of teaching type positions so the school will benefit. There’s also a lot of the trades for people looking for mechanics, farm technicians, things like that.”

The program is capped at $25,000 for the first year but may be revisited at a later date. It will be on a first come, first served basis. Each application is subject to approval by the CCJDA Board and is contingent upon being approved for the NDUS Career Builders Program. Businesses must apply through the state and the NDUS, so if you are interested, contact Duerr at the CCJDA office in the courthouse.

Companies who participate will offer full-time employment with competitive wages once the qualifying applicant is hired and make the agreed upon private donation to the ND Career Builders Program at the end of each year of successful employment. Students and employees who participate will have earned a degree in an eligible field required by the NDUS Career Builder program OR meet the program requirements to enroll in the designated college and maintain GPA requirements. They will also submit to a background check and a drug screening, if required by the company or college.

Students can receive a scholarship on the front end, loan repayment on the back end, or both, for their commitment to the state to fill one of the high need occupations.

“Most will be the student loan repayment,” said Duerr. “That way is easier to recruit people and is a quicker method than waiting for them to go through school.”

No grants will be given directly to individuals. The money goes to the business to be used toward their match to the state program and will be distributed over a 3-year period.

“The nice thing is that the student gets their benefit after they’ve fulfilled their obligation,” said Duerr, “so once they put in one year, they get a third of the payment. They put in another year, they get a third; and they put in the last year, they get a third. We don’t have to worry about trying to grab the money back if they would leave before the year is up because they actually don’t get the money until they fulfill the obligation.”

Duerr has all the details of the program and can be reached at the CCJDA office at 701-256-3475 or email her at shannon@utma.com. You can find the high-need and emerging occupations list, scholarship and loan repayment details, application, and donation forms at the ND Career Builders website at https://ndus.edu/career-builders/. If you need additional information, contact NDUS at 701-328-2906 or email ndfinaid@ndus.edu.

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