In January of 2019, the Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC was formed from the merger of the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce and the Bismarck-Mandan Development Association. With the joint goal of leading the community’s efforts in economic development in Burleigh and Morton counties, advocating at the state legislature for the local business community, being the go-to for business information, the Chamber EDC is also the leader in providing business networking opportunities.
“Dakota Community Bank & Trust’s involvement with the Chamber EDC is really two fold,” mentions President Brian Ritter. “They were both a member of the chamber of commerce and the development association. Since we have merged, Dakota Community Bank & Trust has remained a very engaged member with us. The second level is at a personal level. It comprises the individuals within DCB&T that might be attending our events, or are involved with the organization that reach out to us one to one.” Ritter goes on to say that without their members, supporters, and sponsors such as Dakota Community Bank & Trust (DCB&T), they would not be able to conduct or serve any of their goals such as economic development or business advocacy.
With a yearly commitment to the Chamber EDC, DCB&T also sponsors many of the chamber’s area events including the Chamber EDC Annual Dinner, State of the Cities Address, and more. “What is really telling is when you are out in the community – if there is an event, it doesn’t even have to be a Chamber EDC event – you can go to any number of community functions and you are likely to see a sponsorship from Dakota Community Bank & Trust. You have a business and you have leaders and you have employees that genuinely care about the community. They care to the point that they are willing to reinvest in the community. They are willing to do that because it’s the right thing to do.”
Since the two organizations have joined forces there have been many successes achieved. One of those, Ritter mentions, is the growth when addressing workforce development. “As you look at Bismarck-Mandan right now, we have about a 1.8% unemployment rate. We haven’t achieved a level that low since the oil boom. But it also becomes somewhat of a challenge because businesses want to grow and expand but you need people to do so. You need people to fill those jobs,” says Ritter.
He credits the Chamber EDC’s success to a couple of different things. The first has been an enhancement of talent attraction efforts mostly based online through Google and Facebook to target specific content to specific audiences. The second thing is better training of the talent that is already residing in Burleigh and Morton counties. This effort is part of a four-step process which starts in local middle schools moving through high schools including Job Shadow Week, ultimately leading to step three – creating internship program efforts in college to lead these area students into a potential full-time careers. The fourth step in the process is really targeted to the student’s teachers and parents. This Educator’s Experience step, nicknamed E2, is essentially a teacher internship program to learn skills needed for tomorrow’s workforce that they can take with them back into the classroom, where this four step process will start all over again.
With over 1,300 members, the Chamber EDC is involved in everything from government affairs to providing networking and educational opportunities for its members. One common misconception of the Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC is that it only serves Bismarck-Mandan, but Ritter wants the local community to know that it also serves Burleigh and Morton counties including all rural areas. “We know that Bismarck, Mandan, and Burleigh and Morton counties are really one big community. And what happens in rural Burleigh county and what happens in rural Morton county impacts Bismarck and Mandan and vice versa,” closes Ritter.
The Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC is passionate about their community. Similarly to DCB&T, “They are incredible corporate citizens of Bismarck and Mandan and you can see example of that all over the community,” closes Ritter. Mirroring DCB&T to the Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC, what they do and why they do it rests solely on their passion behind what they do to make the communities successful, to help Bismarck and Mandan grow, and to help make it a great place to live.
Written by Lindsey Hefta, Marketing Director