Labor Trends

We have all noticed it. The lack of cashiers at our favorite grocery store, reduced store hours due to “lack of staff”, and longer lines nearly everywhere we shop or dine. Where have all the workers gone? One thing that I have noticed is the increased prevalence of people with disabilities in the workforce. It is not a new thing, but it is a big thing. 60 years ago, it was practically unheard of for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). At that time, many people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities lived in group settings, and their work options were limited to sheltered workshops, where they were frequently paid sub-minimum wages. The economic development we are experiencing in Cass County has created opportunities for higher paying jobs, increased average wages, and employment opportunities for all people in our community.
Curt Markel, Region 5 Program Administrator for North Dakota Vocational Rehabilitation, states “Vocational Rehabilitation works with a diverse group of skilled individuals who may be entering the workforce for the first time, seeking a career change, or currently underemployed and looking for opportunities to fully utilize their potential. The demand for employees in southeastern North Dakota, driven by local business needs and the regional economy, has created opportunities for people with disabilities to explore fields they might not have previously considered working in and opportunities for advancement within companies. Employment opportunities are available for individuals who can demonstrate key work skills, such as reliability, responsibility, effective communication, and the ability to work well with others”.
If you are an employer looking for labor solutions, or a person with a disability looking to increase their annual income, contact North Dakota Vocational Rehabilitation at (701)298-4462 for more information.
Next month- affordable housing.
Jeff Anderson, Executive Director
I have lived in Fargo since 1993 and have spent 30 of those years working in the disability field.  I am happily married to my wife Kristen, and have four incredible children-Elsie, Braylon, Eiley, and Boden.  We enjoy spending time together, participating in many child-related sports and activities, and playing referee during the daily conflicts between our cat Howie and our two-year-old Labrador Remi.  
My experience working in the ID/DD field has been very productive and personally rewarding and I am very happy to return to this field.  I have had a long personal history working collaboratively with The Arc of Cass County, and The Arc of North Dakota.  I am extremely passionate about improving the quality of life for people with ID/DD, the pursuit of equality and inclusion, and look forward to the many challenges that lie ahead!