Five more monetary commitments have come in for the proposed Grand Forks Career Impact Academy.

The Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. announced Friday morning that the project has received donations of:

  • $400,000 from Grand Forks County.
  • $150,000 from a local businessman who prefers to remain anonymous.
  • $100,000 from Edgewood Healthcare.
  • $50,000 from Opp Construction.
  • And $25,000 from the Grand Forks/East Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce.

This week's donations bring the total commitment to approximately $5.5 million, according to the project's steering committee. The committee needs to raise $10 million before it can access $10 million in matching dollars from the state.

The career and tech center, local leaders hope, can ease those workforce shortages. If it’s built, it will be something akin to a trade school, a junior college and a university, helping steer students toward curriculum and careers that match them with local employers.

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Local research, state data and simple anecdotal evidence shows the region is in the midst of a worker shortage, with hundreds of jobs open locally and thousands open throughout the state. If it's built, the academy will provide learners with real-world learning spaces to explore high-wage, in-demand career fields in the Grand Forks region. The academy will offer students specialized training, allowing them to become career ready or college prepared.

“Workforce shortages are a problem across the United States, and one of the best ways to counter that is investing in young people right in our region,” Cynthia Pic, Grand Forks County Commission chairwoman, said in a statement sent Friday by the EDC. “The county is pleased to support this very important workforce development initiative."

Phil Gisi, CEO of Edgewood Healthcare, said he is impressed with the steering committee’s vision for the complex and its dedication.

“The significant growing demand for healthcare services and living options for our senior population is creating many opportunities for rewarding careers in health care," Gisi said. "It is our goal to help the academy and their students in any way we can, including providing internships and long term career opportunities across our portfolio.”

Said Opp Construction Vice President Sally Miskavige: “Opp Construction is proud to be able to financially support the Career Impact Academy and feels that the facility will help Opp Construction achieve its mission of successfully serving our customers with a high-quality product."

The steering committee has been developing a grant application to seek $10 million in funding to support capital costs needed to build the Career Impact Academy. The application must be submitted to the state by Dec. 1.

“Again, we are filled with gratitude for our community partners who are stepping up to help fund this very important venture,” said Keith Lund, president and CEO of Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation. “The Career Impact Academy has the potential to benefit everyone in our community by providing students with skills and confidence in a vocation and providing workforce for the businesses that keep our community running.”