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Published October 03 2010

North Dakota Political Notebook: North Dakota bill creates online college portfolio system

BISMARCK – North Dakota college students may soon have a “next generation” way to reach employers.

The legislative Workforce Committee recently approved a bill draft that would create a pilot program for a college e-portfolio system.

The system is referred to as “Facebook Professional” in that users manage the content, but it’s for professional purposes, said Eric Johnson, a Ray, N.D., native working with lawmakers on the bill.

The multimedia system would enable users to create and manage education and career information. It would also allow employers to conduct online searches to determine work-force potential by region, skill, education and experience.

As an example of how it works, Johnson said law students can post their legal writing and videos of their oral arguments on their site for potential employers to see. Welding students can post videos or photos of the work they created.

“It’s really the next generation of resumes,” said Johnson, whose Minneapolis-based company, Avenet Web Solutions, already works with the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and its online career portfolio system.

Schools are increasingly requiring students to maintain portfolios that document their work, he said. Economic development officials can also use the site to let companies considering relocation or expansion know what kind of talent pool is available.

Having a statewide system is more efficient than individual schools operating their own, Johnson said. The site could also be opened to former North Dakotans who would like to return to the state if they could find suitable employment, he said.

Committee Chairman Sen. Tony Grindberg, R-Fargo, said data in the system could be compiled to see what collective skill sets and education students have.

Policymakers can then see where there are any gaps between higher education and work-force needs and determine how to respond, he said.

The bill will be discussed further during the legislative session. An example of a site can be found at http://tedjohnson.efoliomn.com.

Legislative week ahead

The Health and Human Services Committee meets at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Roughrider Room in the state Capitol.

The Department of Human Services will discuss the number of people eligible for Medicaid, utilization rates and average cost per recipient for fiscal years 2008, 2009 and 2010, as well as projections for fiscal year 2011.

The department will also update lawmakers on the availability of mental health and substance abuse beds in the state and provide the state children’s health insurance program annual report.

The Indian Affairs Commission will give an update on efforts to facilitate proposals to improve the delivery of human service programs on reservations.

Lawmakers will also discuss a bill draft regarding the administration of influenza shots and other immunizations to children by pharmacists.

Ornaments sought

The North Dakota Council on the Arts is looking for handmade ornaments for the Christmas tree in the state Capitol.

The ornament theme is of the designer’s choosing. Items that are commercially produced or made from kits are not eligible.

Each ornament should include a one- or two-line description that names the art form used or the circumstances through which it was created, such as a family, class or senior center project.

Also include the name(s) of the individual who created the ornament(s). Ornaments must be received by Nov. 19. All ornaments become the property of the council.

Mail ornaments to: North Dakota Council on the Arts, 1600 E. Century Ave, Suite. 6, Bismarck, ND 58503-0649. For more information, call (701) 328-7594 or e-mail amschmid@nd.gov.

Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.