Seize Duluth Workshops: NORTHFORCE A Knight Cities Contender

If selected for this year’s grant, Duluth’s iconic and underutilized buildings will become rallying points for the local workforce.

The region’s professional networking think tank NORTHFORCE is an official finalist for the 2017 Knight Cities Challenge. Each year, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation financially supports innovative ideas aimed at making communities more successful through the attraction and retainment of talent, specifically by breaking down divides and spurring civic involvement.

A collaboration overseen by APEX (Area Partner for Economic Expansion) and the Northspan Group, NORTHFORCE is dedicated to connecting career seekers with professional opportunities in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. Among other activities, the NORTHFORCE team maintains the region’s go-to job post site,, and also coordinates Mentor Connection, which pairs college students with established professionals in the Duluth area.

Seize Duluth Workshops, NORTHFORCE’s newest brainchild, has been selected out of more than 4,500 applicants and chosen to potentially receive Knight Foundation backing. The project aims to connect the Duluth community with professional opportunities through workshops held in historic and underused buildings throughout Duluth.

While these structures help define the city, many of them have now gone underutilized or abandoned with their potential and quality still intact. Each Seize Duluth Workshop will take place at a site around the city in a building that is generally inaccessible to the public. On this platform, youth populations, job seekers, developers, and neighborhood residents will get a chance to network and galvanize their business community. Neighborhoods of focus will include Lincoln Park, Central Hillside, and more communities spanning across East and West Duluth.

Grant winners, who will receive a share of up to five million dollars, will be announced this spring. Parties interested in partnering with Seize Duluth Workshops can connect with the NORTHFORCE team by sending an email to

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