This week saw an hour Zoom with testimony from two business leaders who have recently traversed our state and stressed that North Dakota’s #1 business issue is workforce shortage. It was the last time this coalition will meet before the session begins and the bill passed last time to help incentivize students to pick and pay for an education that would help them with careers helpful to manufacturers, agriculture, etc. was underutilized. It was a Career Builder law that expires and will need to be brought back. Seeing as how it became law July 1 of 2019 (way too late for effectiveness in that school year) and then running up against COVID-19, the Coalition will be attempting to convince the Legislature to re up. With a tight budget, that could be a heavy lift. Marketing this through junior high and high schools was again discussed as a portal to letting folks know about the opportunities should the bill pass. One leader bemoaned how many of our high school grads go no further with their education and instead take jobs such as restaurants and gas stations offer and then find themselves “30 years old and a fish out of water” when it comes to a career. Obviously we need those workers, but to incentivize each person to better themselves is seen by this Coalition as a worthy and needed goal to provide our industries, including agriculture, with a dependable workforce.