FMWF Chamber Ignites our future
The purpose of a cooperative is to realize the economic, cultural, and social needs of the organization’s members and its surrounding community. Cass County Electric
Cooperative (CCEC) has a strong commitment to the communities we power, and we focus on strengthening the communities in which we serve. When our communities thrive, the members served by the cooperative realize the benefits, not just a small group of shareholders. CCEC is a reflection of our local community and its evolving needs. We view our role as a catalyst for good and making our corner of the world a better place, which is why our support of local Chambers and rural and economic development groups is so prevalent.
The Ignite workforce initiative
The Ignite initiative is our region’s latest workforce effort to drive continued success for our business community. Recently launched by the FMWF Chamber, Ignite works
to connect students, educators, professionals, businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits through meaningful and intentional engagement opportunities.
Ignite FMWF platform
The initiative’s platform, Ignite FMWF, serves to remove barriers and directly connect our current and future workforce with our region’s businesses and professionals.
Companies are able to create profiles, post regional job opportunities, share videos about their careers and opportunities, available, partake in training and engagement
opportunities in the metro, and much more. Employees and professionals of businesses can also create profiles to showcase their skillsets, expertise, and areas of interest as it relates to getting involved with educators, students, and more.
K-12 career awareness, exploration, and preparation
Ignite FMWF is our region’s digital platform that provides K-12 students and teachers valuable tools to engage in meaningful career exploration. Teachers can use the Ignite platform’s dashboard to assign tasks and then view students’ progress as they utilize the online resources. Students can explore a breadth of career resources, including internships, learning opportunities, skills assessments, and real-life workers offering testimonials about their field through career portraits, videos, and/or virtual field trips. Ignite is designed for students to explore careers as something beyond just a “job” - it provides information about entering specific job fields as well as the education requirements and local salary expectations to better equip people to enter the workforce. Students using the platform will also be able to see which educational institutions offer specific courses needed for the field of their interest. In the future, the platform will also be a resource for financial literacy and grant-funded opportunities available in the area.
Jenna Mueller, executive director of The FMWF Chamber Foundation, was a major driving force behind obtaining the Good Jobs Challenge grant, in order to fund the Ignite regional workforce initiative.
This summer, Ignite piloted a summer EDventures program in partnership with Cass County Career & Technical Education Center, which connected area educators with businesses of varying industries and nonprofits for multiple days of hands-on learning and curriculum development.
Good Jobs Challenge grant - Ignite regional workforce initiative
On Aug. 3, The FMWF Chamber Foundation announced receiving a $9.62 million Good Jobs Challenge grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The FMWF Chamber Foundation will collaborate with backbone organizations including Grand Farm Research and Education Initiative, North Dakota State College of Science, Emerging Prairie, and University of Mary to use Ignite FMWF (powered by Workbay) to bolster and uplift the region’s economy through developing the skilled workforce needed to support our precision agriculture, advanced manufacturing, and cybersecurity/IT industries.
In partnership with local employers, The FMWF Chamber Foundation will cultivate training programs to meet the unique skills required to enter targeted industries and retain good jobs for the future. With a focus on underserved communities – including new Americans, Black, Indigenous, people of color, veterans, military spouses, and justice-involved individuals – the grant will allow The FMWF Chamber Foundation and its partners to provide a variety of wraparound services and reduce prohibitive barriers that people face such as childcare, transportation, and credentialing.
The Good Jobs Challenge grant was an exceptionally competitive process; only 32 projects were funded from pool of more than 500 applications nationwide. Among the applicants, our community was the only awarded EDA grant from 20 other applications submitted from Minnesota and North Dakota. Beyond the hard work of envisioning the path to success, 78 letters of support were submitted on behalf of employers in the Fargo, Moorhead, and the West Fargo region.
The Ignite Initiative Regional Workforce Training System (IIRWTS) is a collaborative approach to addressing the metro area’s most pressing workforce needs. The IIRWTS addresses several barriers that prevent or discourage members of underserved populations from enrolling in skill training programs. Over the next three years, the region can expect over 900 participants to receive training through the program.
“Cass County Electric Cooperative (CCEC) has been a critical partner with The Chamber for many years. We rely on the experienced thought leadership to guide us and provide insight on pressing energy, and community, issues. CCEC leadership also engages with us in important programming like Leadership FMWF, our public policy committee, Eggs and Issues, Midwest Summits, and many other programs. We are grateful to CCEC for their investment in our organization so we can continue to pursue our mission of being a catalyst for growth and prosperity for our region.” - Shannon Full, FMWF Chamber President/CEO