FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Officials in the Fargo-Moorhead area are making new efforts to stave off what they say is a critical worker shortage.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports area organizations unveiled a five-year plan Thursday that they say will focus in part on training workers. Officials also want to draw new workers to the area, with plans for a winter festival that would encourage people to “embrace the cold.”

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Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation President Jim Gartin says the area’s unemployment rate is 2.6 percent, and that there are nearly 7,000 open jobs. He says manufacturers in the area have had to move production lines outside Fargo because they couldn’t find enough workers.

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Local convention and visitors bureau president Charles Johnson says companies also need to increase pay to draw workers.

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