NorthByChoice: Live & Work in the Northland

NORTHFORCE has launched the new website as an all-in-one resource for individuals seeking to live and work in Northeast Minnesota or Northwest Wisconsin. Bringing together leads on career opportunities, recreation guides, relocation assistance, and more, the site is a one-stop for locals and anyone who might be considering a move to the Northland.

“We are thrilled about the initiative. This much-needed platform conveys to a virtual audience what the Northland and Duluth is all about,” said Duluth Mayor Emily Larson. “With the impacts of COVID-19, the website provides a welcoming online experience that’s essential for anyone looking to ‘do north’ — whether you’re halfway across the country and looking to trade your office cubicle for a view of Lake Superior, or a longtime resident searching for new ways to network within your neighborhood.”

Director of Planning & Economic Development with the Duluth Economic Development Authority (DEDA) Chris Fleege highlighted the new website’s role within the broader workforce system: “Our hope is that can serve as a way to connect all of the resources that exist for job seekers and employers, while promoting Duluth and our region. We know first-hand the benefits of great work-life balances that exist here. communicates that in a way that no other source does,” he said.

Dedicated to helping residents and soon-to-be-residents plug into the Northland and network, the #NorthByChoice brand has been years in the making under NORTHFORCE (NF), the region’s online talent portal powered by Northspan.

“For quite some time now, we have envisioned as a way to connect individuals to the #NorthByChoice lifestyle within our communities,” said Elissa Hansen, Northspan President & CEO. “It’s terrific to see the vision become reality!”

NF team members held a visioning session with local residents to determine how best to share the critical information contained in the site. This approach resulted in a structure made up of six landing pages:

  • Play Here: Discover recreational opportunities throughout our region. From the Boundary Waters to the Apostle Islands, the Northland is a hotspot for outdoor events and activities in all seasons.
  • Work Here: Step inside the local job market to connect with businesses and career guidance. Get the lay of the land by browsing major employers, regional industries, and current job opportunities.
  • Connect Here: Plug into community events, join groups based on shared interests and activities, and stay informed with local news sources. 
  • Move Here: Find information on the local real estate market. From neighborhood shopping opportunities to transport options, these housing resources make the home buying and renting process easy.
  • Grow and Learn Here: Get an overview of area childcare, K-12 schools, and higher education — plus parks, playgrounds, and other opportunities for children and youth in the area.
  • Be Well Here: Focus on health and wellbeing in our region. The Northland healthcare system offers hospitals, clinics, fitness facilities, and other health centers and services for you and your family.

Each landing page is segmented into the four territories served by NORTHFORCE: the Iron Range of Minnesota; the North Shore of Lake Superior; the South Shore of Lake Superior; and the Twin Ports (Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin).

Facts and figures distributed throughout the site sketch out life in the Northland in more vivid detail. The perks add up, from the average 20.5 minute work commute that residents enjoy, to great air quality compared to other cities, according to American Lung Association studies.

Some of these tidbits might surprise locals as much as they will entice extra-regional audiences: For example, Minnesota boasts the second-highest life expectancy in the United States (80.9 years) and Fitbit named Duluth the #1 Fittest City in America in 2017.

The site also taps the wide range of regional data available through Northland Connection, which maintains rankings of top regional employers. Links explore the area’s high 90% graduation rate, home prices that hover around 70% lower than the national median, plus more statistics.

Between workforce shortages and declining populations, there was a need for this website from the standpoint of growing the region’s labor pool, before COVID-19. Now, the focus has expanded to assist workers dislocated by the pandemic.

“So many people would love to shape their lives and careers in this beautiful part of the world,” said Desiree Yourczek, NF’s Greater Northeast Minnesota Strategy and Development Consultant. “Some move away in order to pursue a career path. Others would like to move here, but struggle to find the right opportunity. is designed to bridge that divide for anyone looking to call the Northland home.” Is Your Home | Do North!


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