Williston State College introduces new apprenticeship program

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WILLISTON, N.D. - Williston State College introduced a new apprenticeship program Wednesday morning.

It will focus on Industrial Maintenance Technology and help meet workforce needs in the Bakken.

The curriculum provides high-tech skills for in-demand jobs dealing with things like flow metering in pipelines, level control in oil separators, and temperature control in gas flaring.

The program is designed to quickly advance students with limited to no background in automation. It would last one-and-a-half to three years.

"Every time we bring a new industry partner in, we learn more about how much more automation is being used in industry here. That's one great thing about this program, it's not just for oil and gas. It applies to manufacturing, it applies to public works and so many different things. So for that student or parent that might be concerned about oil and gas going up and down a little bit, these skills apply everywhere," said Kenley Nebeker, regional tech. program and training director.

The state director for North Dakota's apprenticeship programs says the program is the first of its kind in the state and is crucial for the energy demands throughout the region.

"Companies really set the industry standard for the people they need. So say they have a pipeline that needs to be filled, Williston State has the technology and people that can train them to fill that pipeline and help them grow their business," said Barry Dutton, ND Apprenticeship program director.

Nebeker says the program received a $240,000 grant from the Department of Commerce to help with operations.