ND lieutenant governor talks Main Street Initiative in Velva

Local News 1 week ago KMOT 27

VELVA, N.D. - North Dakota Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford headed to Velva Monday to speak with local leaders and business people on the challenges they face as a small town.

The lieutenant governor expressed the need of bringing a 21st Century workforce into North Dakota communities.

It's all part of Gov. Doug Burgum's ongoing Main Street Initiative.

Velva resident Suzy Lee says that living in what she calls a "suitcase community" isn't necessarily a good thing, but it's the reality of living in a small town.

As Velva's unemployment rate dips below the poverty line, Lee says that many Velva residents travel to Minot for bigger opportunities and social engagement.

"I think the businesses that are here, I think that people try to support them as we can. Maybe that's what we need to focus on right now, is having some indoor building for activities for our students and even the adults," said Lee.

That's why Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford visited the town, the latest stop that he and Governor Burgum have made to learn more about the challenges of small-town North Dakota.

"Some communities have a shortage of the trades others have a shortage of teachers or shortage of nurses but it seems like it ends up being very similar conversation. We have the employers around the table, the educators around the table. Local officials and local leaders around the table" said Sanford.

Sanford says that Velva has its own employment, industry and ag connections that can drive people into the the town and help it grow over time.

"How can we be better at not exporting our kids, lets make sure that we have a wholisitic approach from k-12 through employment. And also trying to build these communities. We have communities that are ready to absorb and to attract workers from potentially out of state for all the opportunities we have" said Sanford.

Pushing for a greater future in the state of North Dakota.

Sanford says that 25 percent of people in Velva are unemployed.

For comparison, that's roughly five times what the unemployment rate of Minot was at this time last year.

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