Reaching out to North Dakota’s youth a big priority among the state’s employers to combat workforce shortage

BISMARCK, ND— The University of Mary’s Workforce Development Initiative is excited to launch Rising Leadership North Dakota, a 3-day summer camp that is designed to foster leadership and provide hands-on opportunities to explore exciting career paths. The camp is for North Dakota high school students entering their sophomore, junior or senior year.

Rising Leadership North Dakota (RLND) will take place July 21-24 and will be headquartered on the University of Mary campus, south of Bismarck. The program will kick off with a late afternoon check-in and welcome ceremony on Sunday, July 21. Participants will overnight on campus and start each of the next three mornings with breakfast on campus before boarding a bus to travel together throughout Bismarck-Mandan exploring careers that are representative of opportunities available across the state.

“We found in our statewide research, there is a strong and consistent belief in North Dakota’s business community that we need to provide our youth with greater awareness of and exposure to career opportunities in our state,” said Brian Opp, Workforce Development strategist at the University of Mary. “The University of Mary’s Rising Leadership North Dakota program is designed to address this very thing by giving participants a firsthand view of various career paths, all available right here in North Dakota, over several days.”


The objective for Rising Leadership North Dakota is to expose participants to what it means to lead, and to a wide array of careers across many industries. The ability to demonstrate career opportunities this summer is made possible through amazing partnerships. Here is a sampling of what is in store for participants:

  • CHI St. Alexius will showcase in-demand healthcare careers
  • Visiting a Bartlett & West worksite will provide a look at careers in engineering, construction, and skilled trades
  • Bismarck State College will help us explore careers in energy, truck driving, and welding
  • Agriculture and Diesel Tech will be the focus when visiting RDO Equipment
  • Doosan Bobcat will infuse innovation into the program
  • The North Dakota Army and Air National Guard will show participants how they can serve their country
  • The final stop of the program will be at Butler Machinery where participants will hear about the numerous career options North Dakota offers.

Participants will attend 1 Million Cups, an invigorating platform for entrepreneurs. They will also be treated to a TEDx-style event specially designed to incorporate voices and stories from across the state.

Throughout the camp, participants will meet leaders in business, the community, and the state. They will learn what it means to be a leader, the importance of relationships, and the power of community.

It won’t be all work and no play. Participants will spend an evening at the ballpark for a Bismarck Larks baseball game. There will also be live music, great food, and a few other surprises.

The cost of the event is $150 per participant. This cost includes lodging, all meals, and transportation during the camp, not to mention some sweet Rising Leadership North Dakota swag.

In an effort to “pay it forward,”$100 of every student’s registration fee will be gifted back to a school-associated activity or club he or she belongs to – if they reference that club when they register. This is a way for Rising Leadership North Dakota and the University of Mary to give back by seed-funding a program or project each participant is passionate about.

“When Rising Leadership North Dakota ends on July 24 and our participants depart for home we want them to feel inspired about their future,” added Opp. “We want them to have a deeper understanding of what is possible and how to determine the best path to get where they want to go. In short, our goal is for participants to finish Rising Leadership North Dakota better informed and better connected to their future.”

Rising Leadership North Dakota is limited to 50 participants.  Those 50 spots will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration closes July 18, so register today at