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STEM jobs increase by 50 percent at NDSU Research & Technology Park

FARGO — Jobs have increased by 50 percent at North Dakota State University’s Research & Technology Park since 2010. As of December 2015, there were 1,105 jobs at companies located in the park and 234 jobs at RTP Technology Incubator graduate companies located around the Fargo-Moorhead area.

The RTP has served as a catalyst for high-tech economic development in Fargo since 2000. “The park’s goals mirror those of the state of North Dakota,” RTP executive director Chuck Hoge says in a statement. “Our shared mission is to diversify the economy through high-tech STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs, develop the workforce and provide valuable career opportunities for North Dakota students in state.”

Developing the workforce and valuable STEM jobs for North Dakota students is a top priority for the park, Hoge says. As such, 60 percent of RTP and Incubator graduate internships are held by NDSU students; 37 percent of RTP and Incubator graduate jobs are held by NDSU alumni; 15 percent of the jobs are held by graduates of other North Dakota University System schools; and more than 50 percent of RTP and Incubator graduate jobs are held by NDUS alumni.

“The research park has worked to create an environment that is conducive to growth and expansion,” Callie Klinkmueller, communications and program coordinator, tells Prairie Business. “The growth has occurred in Tech Incubator graduate companies that now employ people across the FM area, within our park, tenants who continue to expand and add new jobs, and in our current tech incubator, tenants who have grown enough to require additional support and development staff. Our mission is to help companies evolve through our partnership with state programs like InnovateND and our provided resources, educational opportunities and mentorship.”

The RTP is home to 19 companies, 15 of which are located inside the Incubator building. RTP tenants include John Deere, Bobcat and Appareo, while startups including Omnibyte, c2renew and OpGo Marketing are located in the Tech Incubator.

“The RTP provides an opportunity for companies of all sizes to connect to students, faculty and research, which has proven to be a significant draw to the area,” Klinkmueller says. “Established companies like Bobcat and John Deere enjoy access to top talent graduating from NDSU and startups benefit from our park-funded student internship program, which allows startups to get the help they need without the extra cost.”

Klinkmueller says bridging the gap between NDSU and the entrepreneurial community has always been a priority for the RTP. “We are proud to contribute to the economic and technological diversity and success of the FM area.” The RTP also administrates about 50 InnovateND clients who are in the process of starting companies in the Fargo-Moorhead area and diversifying the economy.

“What’s unique about the Fargo entrepreneurial community is the collaboration,” Klinkmueller says. “Each entrepreneurial organization brings something to the table, and the fact that the RTP gets to be a collaborator, supporter and contributor to this community is a very exciting part of what we do.”

Klinkmueller says the RTP also is dedicated to seeking out, encouraging and providing startup resources for the students and faculty of NDSU “who are developing the technology of tomorrow. Fargo is blessed with some of the brightest minds in technology, so it is our goal to connect these innovators with the resources necessary to start a company in the FM area.”