I hope you caught the Minot Daily’s editorial a couple days ago on retaining talent. If you didn’t, go back and read it. In my mind, this is one of the bigger must-solve challenges facing Minot. North Dakota ingenuity, common sense, and our remarkable work ethic are BY FAR the most valuable commodities we produce, and it’s a shame that we export so much of it to other cities and states.
None of this is new. I graduated from Minot High in 1995, and I can tell you with certainty that 22-years ago this same problem had been clearly identified. What I’m not sure about is how well our attempts at solving it have worked.
But what’s more clear to me today is just how insidious this problem truly is.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the fact that many Minot kids spread their wings, leave town and head out into the world. It’s out there that they learn just how capable they are; it’s out there that they’re exposed to new ideas, culture, and experiences that feed an enriching life.
The problem is that we haven’t built a community that they want to come back to; the worst part is that it’s a double-edged sword. It cuts the first time when we lose our young people. It cuts again when we lose their parents who retire to another part of the country to be closer to their kids and grandkids.
And the loss of the older generation may be the deeper cut. These are people with professional and financial security, experience and wisdom, and the invaluable historical context that comes with knowing the backstory of the previous 30-years. To put it another way, these are individuals we need taking on leadership roles within our community.
Now, don’t take my meaning as a jab against those who are here. It’s not. I’m just pointing out that out-migration of our young people is a bigger problem than we realize, and I think it’s impacting Minot in a lot of ways that aren’t so obvious.
I’m not sure I have a solution, but I do have one idea that may help. We can do a better job of retaining our talent by simply supporting it! Sometimes that’s with encouragement and a lending hand, other times it’s with our financial means.
So, here’s your call to action on behalf of one of those local talents. Wild Hands is a Minot band; in their music, you’ll hear an extraordinary example of talent in songwriting and musicianship that speaks to this place, the prairie, and even our river. And right now they need our support. Let’s make sure they have it because frankly, I’m tired of losing folks like Max, Joe and Nick to Bismarck, Fargo, and beyond.
Check out and support the Wild Hands kick-starter project Growing Like a Weed here (watch below below). Follow them on Facebook here. And have a listen below.