Gov. Doug Burgum today announced that state Labor Commissioner Erica Thunder has resigned from the role, effective Sept. 30, to accept the newly created position of Director of Diversity and Cultural Competency at the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DOCR).
Thunder has led the Department of Labor and Human Rights since June 2019. She was serving as judicial systems administrator for the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission when Burgum appointed her as labor commissioner.
“We are deeply grateful for Erica’s outstanding service as labor commissioner, including progress made to streamline work, upgrade software systems, eliminate paper, and improve business processes, policies and procedures to provide better service to North Dakota citizens,” Burgum said. “While we will miss her on the cabinet, we’re excited that she has accepted this impactful new position with DOCR, and we appreciate the highly capable team she has supported at the Department of Labor and Human Rights.”
“Words are not enough for the gratitude I feel in first being appointed Commissioner, to the DOLHR team, to my fellow Cabinet colleagues, to the many stakeholders I have worked with, and of course, the great honor it has been to serve North Dakota citizens in their Labor and Human Rights’ needs,” Thunder stated in her resignation letter.
As the DOCR’s first-ever Director of Diversity and Cultural Competency, Thunder’s responsibilities will include understanding and documenting pathways in which Native Americans and other minorities enter the criminal justice system and developing recommendations to address systemic problems, as well as developing, evaluating and identifying community resources on tribal lands. The position also involves leading the establishment and enhancement of culturally competent programs, services and activities; developing strategies to address overrepresentation and recidivism of minorities in the corrections system; and building productive relationships among the tribes, communities, minorities and the DOCR.
“We are grateful that Erica is joining the DOCR team. Her wealth of knowledge and experience will allow the DOCR to enhance culturally specific interventions, supports, and resources in collaboration with the tribal nations with whom we share geography in North Dakota,” DOCR Director Dave Krabbenhoft said.
The labor commissioner position will be posted immediately.
The Department of Labor and Human Rights is responsible for enforcing North Dakota labor and human rights laws and for educating the public about the laws. The department also licenses employment agencies operating in the state and can verify the status of independent contractor relationships.