Fueling our Future

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Fueling our Future

Fueling Our Future (FOF), the GFMEDC’s partnership with the FMWF Chamber of Commerce, along with dozens of private and public leaders, continues to move forward at lightning speed. This concept, spearheaded by the late Chamber CEO, Craig Whitney, is making tremendous headway across the three central pillars of the initiative – People, Prosperity and Place.

Roughly one year into its efforts, FOF has committed nearly two million dollars of its four million dollars of investment funds to support “big rock” issues for our region. With nearly a dozen initiatives underway, the following is just a sampling of the great work being done:

  • The Career Workforce Academies
  • Document-Ready (shovel-ready) sites program
  • Campus FM
  • Emerging Digital Academy


Career Workforce Academies

*Rendering of Cass County Career Workforce Academy


With a goal of supporting enhanced curriculum that aligns to business needs, the Career Workforce Academies are intended to create a more direct path from student to successful employee. The region is establishing two career workforce academies, one in Moorhead and one in Cass County.

“As Director of Career & Technical Education, I believe the best learning happens by doing, and this is why I have been an ultra-advocate and passionate voice for the Career Academies since 2014. Career Academies have a proven track record of student success across the nation and it is time for the learners in our region to have the same opportunity. I envision the Cass and Clay Career Academies as “central hubs of imagination” to elevate career awareness and experiences for students, parents, and the community. Each Academy will serve as a “center” to cultivate and network partnerships between business-industry and education, connecting K-12 schools, post-secondary programs, adult training, cities, counties, workforce development, and more. Educated citizens create strong communities, and Career Academies have the potential to transform how we think, educate, innovate, and grow our workforce for the future.”

Denise Jonas
Career & Technical Education Director

Open for Business – Document Ready Sites Make Attracting New Business Easier

Document-ready (also called shovel-ready) site programs establish certain areas of land that are immediately available with highly detailed and comprehensive site information. For example, engineering and survey work have been done.

When a company is ready to set up shop in a new market or expand in an existing one, you can bet they are working under a deadline. Creating efficiencies and eliminating unnecessary delays increases our potential to recruit or retain their business.

The program got its start in February 2020 with a kickoff, and once sites are certified in the coming months, we will be marketing them for both local expansion and external attraction projects.

Campus FM

Joe Burgum, Folkways

Campus FM is an initiative to grow FM Area workforce capacity and capability by retaining college students in the Metro area. Campus FM follows the collective impact philosophy, a philosophy aimed at coordinating previously unconnected efforts to maximize each of their end results. Campus FM will serve as an initiative to converge the work already being done to engage students, systemizing student engagement. Campus FM is currently in the coalition-building and context discovery phase. Folkways and The Arts Partnership have been hired to coordinate a network of student engagement professionals, bringing to the table staff focused on student engagement from Fargo-Moorhead’s universities and colleges. Next steps include the creation of networks within the business community, and the development of an index to serve as a leading indicator for student engagement within the Metro.

Dayna Del Val, The Arts Partnership

Campus FM defines success as greater connectivity between higher education and the business community, and a greater awareness of FM quality of life for students, leading to more students choosing to launch their careers in our Metro area. The Arts Partnership brought Deborah Diamond, CEO of Campus Philly in November 2019 to get this conversation started with the financial support of Gate City Bank.

Joe Burgum, Folkways
Dayna Del Val, The Arts Partnership

Emerging Digital Academy

Emerging Digital Academy is an immersive 20-week program that prepares students for a job in the technology industry. It’s North Dakota’s only immersive coding bootcamp.

“The Emerging Digital Academy provides a critical pipeline of talent to support our region’s growing tech industry. The Academy’s mission aligns with FOF efforts to support workforce development to fuel our economy. We look forward to helping generate solutions that create lasting regional impacts,” Randy Gerhold Chief Technology Officer, Bushel and Fueling Our Future Governance Board Chair.

“This gift will help ensure the long-term success of Emerging Digital Academy and–in turn–the careers of our students. We’re thrilled that Fueling Our Future’s mission so aligns with our own–to upskill the workforce, create new career opportunities and improve our region’s overall quality of life. We’ve been shown so much support from our community…it’s really inspiring,” Blaine Booher, Emerging Digital Academy Program Director.

Cass County Electric
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