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Published March 27, 2012, 05:29 PM

As ND Thrives, Leaders Look to '2020 and Beyond'

DEVILS LAKE, ND (WDAZ-TV) - State business leaders are circling North Dakota, looking for input on what the state should focus on for the future.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

DEVILS LAKE, ND (WDAZ-TV) - State business leaders are circling North Dakota, looking for input on what the state should focus on for the future.

On Tuesday, people in Devils Lake and Grand Forks had the chance to voice their opinions and business leaders say they're surprised by the passion people are showing for their home state.

State leaders say business professionals in North Dakota aren't just interested in seeing their own region thrive, they want to see the entire state succeed.

The North Dakota 2020 and Beyond project is meant to augment the state's economic plan for the decade. The state economy is so strong, priorities have shifted.

"Creating new jobs and attracting new businesses had a priority. Today, if you look at North Dakota, we're more into the finding the workforce to fill those jobs we have available," businessman Roger Relerson said.

Leaders from the Chamber of Commerce and Department of Commerce met with Devils Lake professionals to get their opinion Tuesday morning.

"And of course, with Devils Lake, water management is one of the key things here too," Al Anderson with the Department of Commerce said.

They asked for ways to improve economic development at a state and local level. Devils Lake residents were eager to share many ideas.

"Connecting young people, as early as middle school and high school, with career opportunities in the state," Tracey Finneman with the Department of Commerce said.

State Chamber of Commerce President Andy Peterson says the biggest surprise from the tour is unity people feel throughout the entire state.

"People on the Eastern side of the state are concerned about what's happening on the Western side of the state. So it's not just been about their region or their city, rather it's been about the whole state," North Dakota Chamber of Commerce President Andy Peterson said.

State leaders finished their tour of the North Dakota on Tuesday.

A committee will meet April 2 to filter through the public input and will present suggestions to the governor, legislature and private business leaders this fall.

Go to ND2020andBeyond.com to see what ideas have been suggested and to offer your own.

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