Every region faces unique workforce issues, and North Dakota is no different. In the spring of 2022 alone, there were more than 30,000 job openings across the state. There are shortages of people in every industry: nursing, healthcare technician, child care, and oil and gas career pathways are amongst those hurting the most. There’s a technical skills gap amongst job seekers entering the workforce as well; they are lacking in the specialized knowledge needed to perform tasks in the roles they’re applying for. These individuals need extra training to get them up to speed.
Attracting talent from out of state is a tactic for filling the shortage, but how can the area attract people to move? If you’re a midwest native and have traveled outside of the lovely area we call home, you’ve likely found out that the rest of the country knows little about the area and the opportunities offered. Tourism and recruitment efforts need new standout ways to engage out-of-state people to learn more about the region.
Looking for a unique way to show potential tourists, visitors, and residents all that you have to offer? Be More Colorful can help! By capturing the unique attractions, employers, and other highlights in your community, we can create a 360° virtual tour that helps boost your tourism and talent attraction efforts in a unique way. Connect with us to learn more.
Another tactic to fill job openings is supporting populations with barriers for employment. Criminal record, lack of education or experience, language barriers, and access to transportation or child care are just a few examples of limitations that certain job seekers face. Unique solutions must be offered by employers and regional entities to assist those with barriers so they can get their chance to shine in the workplace like they deserve.
North Dakota is also interested and invested in student engagement to fulfill workforce needs. Getting in front of youth earlier with more diverse career exploration helps align them with potential paths that they might have never heard about before. Helping people find the perfect career or industry can help retain talent in the area, minimizing the amount of unfilled job openings.
Country-Wide Workforce Issues
These problems are not unique to our home state of North Dakota. Across the country, similar workforce issues are being echoed. There are over 11 million job openings across the country as of the spring of 2022. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, healthcare and social assistance, transportation, and accomodation and food industries currently have the highest number of job openings. There are currently about 6 million unemployed workers, leaving over 5 million openings unfillable by U.S. citizens alone. Put more simply, there are not enough people to fill the number of openings in the United States today.
Why the shortage?
What are some of the things preventing US unemployed citizens from staying in the labor force? The reasons are as diverse as our country is.The U.S. Chamber of Commerce identifies several primary causes:
- An increase in savings driven by the pandemic
Given stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits, and limitations in place on entertainment, travel, and other industries, many households had more savings than usual during the pandemic. Some individuals cited that other members of their household made enough to keep the family stable as a reason to not re-enter the workforce.
- Early retirement driven by the pandemic
More than 3 million adults went into early retirement during the pandemic, whether by choice or brought on by losing a job.
- Lack of access to affordable childcare
A major influence on job markets across the states is childcare. To return to work, employees need access to high-quality and reliable childcare, but the industry has struggled to keep up with demand. Many providers had to close or scale down over the last few years and have not been able to recover their employment rates since.
- New businesses started
Innovative and entrepreneurial-minded people have been trying their hand at starting up their own businesses rather than being employed for others. Nearly 10 million new business applications have been filled over the past two years alone!
Our Immersive Solution
While producing Be More Colorful projects throughout the years, our team saw an opening to help with workforce innovation. We sought to build a platform that assists the state’s workforce needs, local businesses’ recruitment efforts, and students’ and job seekers’ appetite to learn about a variety of career pathways. While we can’t solve every workforce dilemma facing our nation, we are in a unique position to make a big difference when it comes to making informed career decisions.
The CareerViewXR platform seeks to make an impact on workforce issues in North Dakota and beyond through unparalleled career exploration opportunities. During our exploration, we’ve found that:
- Job shadows and in-person tours are fantastic ways to learn about careers in-person
- In-person career exploration experiences are not scalable due to significant barriers due to time, geography, and financial constraints
- Students lack access to modern job exploration tools
- Recruiters and marketers are looking for exciting ways to stand out from the crowd
- State and regional organizations are seeking new and unique solutions for their workforce issues
CareerViewXR is our unique answer to workforce problems stemming from a lack of career awareness. How does it work? Using 360° imagery and video, users can jump right into scenes featuring real people and real work environments. Users can read or listen to information about different points of interest in the scenes and watch videos along the way while exploring the web-based experiences. Each web-based tour has a paired 360° video to fully immerse those that have access to a VR headset.
How CareerViewXR Addresses Workforce Problems
CareerViewXR, our 360° media platform serves as a fresh, new job exploration tool. It grabs the attention of students, educators, and professionals in a way that traditional career exploration resources cannot. CareerViewXR provides the immersive nature of a field trip or job shadow but is flexible and available 24/7. Organizations and school districts can access experiences anytime via web-connected devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, smartboards, as well as VR headsets.
Because the experiences can be accessed on any existing device, no extra hardware investment is required to get started. When ready for full immersion, subscribers can take advantage of screen casting capabilities paired with a single VR headset, engaging everyone in the classroom, boardroom, or event booth.
Speaking of being cost-effective, platform subscription costs are also very reasonably priced. For less than the cost of taking a single class on a single field trip, an entire school can explore a growing library of dozens of field trip and job shadow experiences. No need to worry about safety or organizing schedules and transportation, just power on your device to get immersed on any day at any time.
Initial production of CareerViewXR experiences is first focused on North Dakota Job Service’s identified In-Demand Occupations list. Capturing healthcare and skilled trades industry experiences are at the top of our list. Engaging users with in-demand jobs is intended to lead curious minds to the industries where they are needed the most.
If you can provide or know of a production location where we could capture any of the careers shown on the list (or beyond), please reach out! We appreciate any leads for finding our next great production partners.
While aligning job seekers with industries that line up with their interests and skills already benefits businesses and organizations, there are additional benefits available to production partners. CareerViewXR offers the option of licensing or customizing tour content for their own use outside of the platform. Businesses and organizations can easily implement the experiences on their site to level-up their marketing, recruiting, or training efforts. 360° photos and videos are underutilized in these areas as a whole, making it a wide-open playing field to make a huge splash. Production partners are also offered the chance to sponsor subscriptions for local schools and organizations, helping showcase their tour experience and others to curious minds.
Last, but obviously not least, CareerViewXR levels up state and regional labor force efforts. One of our primary focuses is to help rural and low-access communities in particular. CareerViewXR grabs the attention of future talent and people already in the workforce to increase interest and awareness in careers being highlighted on the platform. The platform not only highlights career potential in specific industries and careers, but by producing the content locally, it shows off what this region and those similar to it have to offer as a whole. This drives retention of local citizens and workers as well as attracts talent from other regions to see all of the opportunities available.
This content, though produced in North Dakota, does hold relevance across the United States. We have seen that many of the in-demand jobs in North Dakota have overlap with other region’s workforce needs as well. We hope that by expanding our subscriber base we can make a positive impact on in-demand industries everywhere.
By capturing various field trips and job shadows we are able to have something that grabs the attention of anyone, no matter what their interests, skill set, education, or barriers to entry. They are able to see various possibilities and ultimately help fill in the labor shortage seen across the country.
To help us reach our goals and make these impacts, we’ve been developing meaningful relationships during our platform development. We have connections with state and regional entities as well as business and schools around North Dakota and beyond. They have given us insight, feedback, access to grants, connections to production locations, and more. They have been integral to our growth over the past few years. With their assistance, we are able to forge a path to making CareerViewXR better and more accessible to those that need it most.
Workforce problems are challenging and vary from area to area, but CareerViewXR strives to help in state and regional efforts to change things for the better. Aligning people to jobs that they will love and flourish in for years to come is one small step towards solving these issues!