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.

Legislative week ahead

The Higher Education Committee and Higher Education Roundtable members will meet Monday and Tuesday in the House Chamber. Monday’s agenda begins at 9 a.m. CT and includes out-of-state speakers discussing higher education funding.

There will also be discussion regarding potential goals and expectations of the North Dakota University System, including methods to measure success in achieving the goals.

Tuesday’s agenda begins at 8:30 a.m. CT. The meeting includes roundtable discussion regarding higher education topics discussed at previous Higher Education Committee meetings.

There will also be a presentation by a representative of the University System of the 2009 Accountability Measures Report.

Also Tuesday, the Administrative Rules Committee meets at 9 a.m. CT in the Roughrider Room of the state Capitol. The meeting includes presentations by the Attorney General’s Office, State Gaming Commission, state Health Department, Game and Fish, the Board of Pharmacy and the Public Service Commission.

On Wednesday, the Workers’ Compensation Review Committee meets at 9 a.m. CT in the Harvest Room of the state Capitol. Meanwhile, the Taxation Committee meets at 9 a.m. in the Roughrider Room in the Capitol.

On Thursday, the Energy Development and Transmission Committee meets at 9 a.m. CT in the Roughrider Room in the Capitol. Also Thursday, the Judicial Process Committee meets at 9 a.m. CT in the Harvest Room in the Capitol.

Full meeting agendas can be found at www.legis.nd.gov/council/interim/meetings.

N.D. lawmakers prepare for busy September

BISMARCK–North Dakota lawmakers will have a busy September of committee work as they prepare to head into the 2011 legislative session.

Four committees are scheduled to meet this coming week.

The Judiciary Committee meets at 9 a.m. CT Wednesday in the Roughrider Room in the Capitol.

Topics include a bill draft regarding the regulation of debt settlement services and a presentation by the North Dakota Racing Commission about account wagering in the state.

Lawmakers will also hear about gambling treatment options and statistics.

The Tribal and State Relations Committee meets at 9 a.m. CT Thursday in the Bismarck Civic Center Exhibit Hall Room 101, 315 S. Fifth St.

The committee will conduct a joint meeting with the Native American Tribal Citizens’ Task Force and will discuss tribal-state issues, including government-to-government relations, economic development, hate crimes, education, taxation, and oil and gas development.

The Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations meets at 9 a.m. CT Thursday in the Roughrider Room in the Capitol.

The commission will discuss a bill draft related to limiting the payment of medical care costs of an inmate to the federal Medicare payment rates.

The group will also discuss a bill draft relating to the duration and amount of advertisement for public improvement construction bids.

The Information Technology Committee meets at 9 a.m. CT Thursday in the Education Center at SRT Communications in Minot.

Lawmakers will hear presentations about social media, online technologies, Internet protocol television and technology trends in the public sector.

They will also hear the state Information Technology Department’s annual report regarding projects, services, plans and benefits.

Full agendas can be found at www.legis.nd.gov/council/interim/meetings.

Capitol farmers market

The sixth annual North Dakota Farmers Market Day at the Capitol is set for next Wednesday.

In conjunction with National Farmers Market Week, the public can buy fresh-picked fruit and vegetables, meet the growers and get recipes and tips on buying produce, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said.

Vendors from across the state will participate in the market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the top of the Capitol loop on the south lawn.

Aviands Capitol Cafe will offer $5 brown bag lunches featuring local products. Entrees include either a turkey club wrap or roasted vegetable wrap, accompanied by a bag of chips, a cookie, an apple or orange, and a bottle of water.

Local singer-songwriter Mike Swenson will perform from noon to 1 p.m., and fresh vegetables will be grilled on-site for sampling during market hours.

The market is free and open to the public.

In a news release, Goehring said the event and week recognize the growing importance and awareness of farmers markets across the nation. The U.S. now has more than 3,800 farmers markets, he said.

More information about North Dakota farmers markets, including times and locations, can be found on the North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association website at www.ndfarmersmarkets.com.