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Published February 28, 2012, 08:28 PM

Wrigley: Young Professionals Key to ND's Continued Growth

DEVILS LAKE, ND (WDAZ-TV) - North Dakota's robust economy is making it easier for young professionals to prosper in the state.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

DEVILS LAKE, ND (WDAZ-TV) - North Dakota's robust economy is making it easier for young professionals to prosper in the state.

But Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley says there are more ways they can make an impact.

Wrigley says young professionals are vital to today's economy and will help keep the state strong in the future.

State leaders used to worry about keeping young talent in the state.

"When I graduated from high school in 1984, a lot of people talked about any public policy initiative, is 'how we can keep people in North Dakota?' as though it wasn't a place that people wanted to stay," Wrigley said.

He says that isn't a problem anymore.

"People who care a lot about their community, who are very, very invested in it, who will fight through a lot of difficulty and challenge to make sure there is a great future for their community," Wrigley said.

Young professionals says his message could help more of their colleagues do the same.

"Maybe some people take stuff out of that where before they might not have an idea of what young professionals can do, and maybe it's an inspiration to give back a little bit," Chris Schilken with Devils Lake Young Professionals said.

North Dakota has the lowest unemployment in the country and Wrigley says the state has 20,000 unfilled jobs. He says the strong energy, agriculture and tourism industries help the economy grow.

"The challenge is made infinitely better when there are interesting, diverse and growing opportunities in the state, and that's what we have in North Dakota," Wrigley said.

And young professionals are the key to keeping the economy growing.

"As you grow your community, it's a key part, that age group," Schilken said.

Wrigley says Devils Lake is just one of the many communities in the state cultivating strong young professional networks.

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