Proposed scholarship program to benefit workers in the oil and gas industry
Wednesday, September 21, 2022

North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott participated in the Petroleum Council’s annual meeting Sept. 20 to discuss higher education and workforce needs in the region. State Board of Higher Education members Danita Bye and Kevin Black were also involved in higher education discussions as well as Dickinson State’s President Stephen Easton.

Among the topics was a scholarship program proposal called Re-Energize North Dakota intended to coincide with Governor Doug Burgum’s initiative on workforce recruitment and training. The goal of the proposed scholarship program is to recruit and train individuals who want to work in the state’s energy industry and retrain workers who have departed the energy industry.

“We want to offer state-funded scholarships to reskill workers to reenter the workforce either in or out of the energy industry. The intent is to keep our workforce here and target individuals seeking to train or relocate for good paying jobs. The idea is to build a ‘bullpen’ of workers ready to step into energy sector jobs as they become available in the future,” said Hagerott.

The oil and gas industry has large economic impacts in the state, including $3.8 billion in tax revenue. Possible funding sources for the scholarship program include possible support from the legislature of a one-time investment of $10 million, financial backing of employers to retrain their workforce, and NDUS scholarship dollars.

Hagerott said, “The eleven campuses of the NDUS are fully engaged in recruiting, reeducating, and retraining workers from the oil and gas industry in North Dakota. We are committed to furthering their education for degree or certificate attainment, learning new skills, or simply taking classes. We are nimble, flexible, and adaptive to the rapidly changing needs of the Bakken as well as the entire State of North Dakota.”

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