Construction for the Bakken Area Skills Center kicked off with a groundbreaking ceremony July 18. This is a big step for the center as it has been in the works since 2016.
Construction is anticipated to be finished by late 2023. The center will be located near Watford City High School, across from the Rough Rider Center’s baseball field.
Once the project is completed, this one-of-a-kind facility will “up-skill” area employers’ current workforce, create more opportunities for students, and provide a variety of services to the area.
The school district, economic development, and local business and industry plan on collaborating to prepare students for post-secondary experiences as well as provide employer-specific training to assist with workforce needs across the region.
Three major areas identified are healthcare, building trades, and automation. These will be the major areas covered; each of these fields will have a lab/shop and classroom space.
Students will be able to take courses and learn more about careers that are currently available and learn directly from industry experts that are currently in the field.
“I am excited to be able to get students matched up with careers that will fill a need in our community. We can serve the student by finding their interests, providing some training and access to companies that have positions to fill,” Watford City High School Principal Jim Green said.
The benefits of the facility would serve more than just the Watford City area, serving as a Career and Technology Education Regional Center. That means that the courses will be offered online to all schools in the northwest.
Several entities have been making financial contributions to the project including North Dakota Career and Technical Education, McKenzie County Economic Development, McKenzie County School District #1, Oneok, Stenehjem Holdings, Titan Energy Services, City of Watford City, Fort Union Masonic Lodge #128, Chord Energy, Northern States Fishing Tools, ConocoPhillips, Marathon, Carl E Rogan Post 29 American Legion, and Grayson Mill Energy. “This has been a long-awaited project,” McKenzie County Public School District #1 Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Holen explained. “We appreciate all the support of our local and regional partners, including Williston State College and TrainND, to create a vision for the Center and to provide opportunities to K-12 and adult learners in our region.”
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