Wednesday, January 29, 2020 - 12:00pm

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today announced a first-of-its-kind, multi-industry career expo aimed at addressing the state’s workforce shortage and highlighting the importance of 21st century skills such as computer science and cybersecurity in various career fields.

The Dakota Strike career expo will take place April 8 at the Fargodome. Burgum announced the expo during his 2020 State of the State address at the Chester Fritz Auditorium in Grand Forks.

The team behind Dakota Strike includes military, public and private sector partners. They created the career expo as an opportunity for students in grades 7 to 12 and college to explore dozens of careers and thousands of job openings available in North Dakota, with an emphasis on technology as a foundational element in virtually any career path. The state had nearly 15,000 online job openings in December, according to Job Service North Dakota, and it’s estimated there are at least double that number of openings statewide.

“For North Dakota to fulfill its potential, we need to provide students with training, workforce development opportunities and early exposure to career options,” Burgum said. “Dakota Strike is a unique opportunity to bring students and employers together to showcase myriad careers in sectors ranging from agriculture, energy and manufacturing to unmanned aerial systems, military, and health care, while highlighting the vibrant technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem that is so crucial to growing our economy.” 

This event builds on a statewide focus on innovative education and providing foundational 21st century skills such as computer science and cybersecurity that are valuable in an ever-growing number of career fields. Additional unique aspects of the event include:

  • A Dakota Strike Mobile Application Competition with cash prizes;
  • A digital Capture the Flag competition that will be held in advance of the event, with winners announced at the event;
  • An E-Sports gaming simulator where students can experience competitive gaming in a cyber/digital sports environment;
  • Multiple simulator experiences including virtual reality, cyber and aviation-based opportunities.

Every student who attends the event also will be eligible to compete for prizes that will be awarded throughout the day.

Maj. Terry Traylor of the Fargo Military Entrance Processing Station said, “As an event vendor, sponsor and regional ASVAB Career Exploration lead, Fargo MEPS is excited to work with the State of North Dakota to provide our #FutureLegendary leaders with career exploration options across the military, public service and private sectors.”

“The National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) is pleased to partner with Dakota Strike to bring innovative computer science and cybersecurity education to North Dakota educators and students,” said Dr. Chuck Gardner, NICERC Director of Curriculum. “Through a first-in-the-nation partnership with EduTech, NICERC is working to bring enriching, rigorous and relevant real-world content to classrooms across the state.”

NICERC is supporting Dakota Strike with an ethical hacking-style Capture the Flag event that will provide students with a series of cybersecurity challenges ranging from cyber hygiene questions to challenges involving various forms of malware. Students who place in the top five teams at the competition will each receive a Parallax cyber:bot robotic device from NICERC.

There are currently more than 700 cybersecurity jobs listed on for the state of North Dakota alone and over 500,000 nationwide. In order to begin filling these high-demand and high-paying jobs, North Dakota is pursuing a statewide approach to computer science and cybersecurity education through the K-20W Initiative.

Organizations interested in exhibiting or sponsoring the event are encouraged to visit for registration and additional event information. Schools are also encouraged to register on the event website. 

Coordinating organizations and event sponsors include: North Dakota Information Technology, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, North Dakota Career and Technical Education, NDIT-EduTech, Fargo U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command, Naval Reserve Operations Center, Palo Alto Networks, Microsoft, NICERC, North Dakota Army National Guard, North Dakota Air National Guard, the North Dakota University System, TechND, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, the U.S. Army Minneapolis Recruiting Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Station Twin Cities, Navy Talent Acquisition Group Northern Plains, U.S. Air Force 343d Recruiting Station, NASA, the Fargo Moorhead Chamber of Commerce, and SkySkopes.