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Academy Organizers Seek Federal Grant Money, Aim For 2021 Construction

The need for skilled labor is established. Contractors struggling to meet strong local demands at affordable prices understand how the Cass County Career Workforce Academy will fill that need.

The first phase total project price tag is estimated at approximately $26 million. About $11.5 million has been collected or pledged from private sources, with local governments and a federal grant potentially providing the rest.

HBA of F-M and Home Builders Care of F-M Foundation have each contributed $100,000 toward the academy (together, the organizations have committed to raise a total of $1 million).

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An application for a grant of up to $5 million made possible by the CARES Act is in the works by Lake Agassiz Development Group and the North Dakota State College of Science’s Foundation. A decision about approval is expected during September.

Cass County’s commission has discussed the possibility of increasing their 2020 commitment of $900,000 for funding since early this year and has been involved in the academy’s steering committee. In a May update, Chairman Chad Peterson said a goal is to have total funding in place this year for the career academy, with construction to start in the spring of 2021. A site has been identified south of Fargo. Plans for the building itself are currently being developed by EAPC Architects Engineers to accompany the grant application.

HBA and Home Builders Care Foundation leaders are assisting in efforts to apply for the federal funds. They have been informed that the grant will not be awarded unless matching funds are guaranteed. This means the remaining $470,300 of the HBA’s and Home Builders Care Foundation’s $1 million pledge needs to be secured as quickly as possible.

If the labor shortage concerns you, investing in the Academy is another step toward confidence. Contact Summer Hammond at or (701) 232-5846.

HBA President Darrick Guthmiller, Kochmann Brothers Homes, Inc., says, “This is an economic issue. It isn’t just an educational issue. Our Association’s leaders believe that the Cass County Career Workforce Academy is the only option available to help solve the economic crisis our industry faces. Thank you to everyone who has given the Academy so much momentum. It’s time to finish up!