Greater Bemidji Says Local Economy is ‘Mixed,’ Looks at Challenges in Retaining Workforce
In a post-COVID economy, Bemidji’s current status is described as mixed.
Regional workforce development center Greater Bemidji reported on the economic growth of the area at the latest City Council meeting on Monday. A main focus for the growing regional center is to attract and retain talent.
Greater Bemidji is looking at promoting the region to both corporations and families to make up for the workforce deficit, but there are other problems in the region to tackle. These problems include lack of transportation, childcare, and housing. But one that could force families away from the region are discriminatory practices.
“It would be great if [Greater Bemidji] could keep track of individuals who have left,” said Ward 4 Councilor Emelie Rivera. “I’m aware of at least a half a dozen who have identified issues related to discriminatory harassment within the community as a reason that they left. These are high income earning professionals who do not feel safe in this community.”
Other councilors echoed similar thoughts. Mayor Jorge Prince commented on how, during his time living in Bemidji, he has had both positive and negative experiences. But as the council representative for Greater Bemidji, he also mentioned how the center is discussing these difficult topics. He did encourage action to follow the talk.
Greater Bemidji Executive Director Dave Hengel agreed with the comments, saying these discussions are happening.