BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The U.S. Department of Labor awarded Bismarck State College a $1.6 million grant to help expand career and technical education programs.

The grant is aimed at providing opportunities for under-represented individuals.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently found that college graduates earn nearly twice as much as those with only a high school diploma.

So this grant will not only help students but also the North Dakota workforce grow.

“We continuously hear the workforce challenges that many industries have including manufacturing and healthcare,” said Alicia Uhde, Polytechnic Program Outreach director. “So by providing opportunities for short-term training for certificates or two to four-year degrees in healthcare and manufacturing we feel like we are able to ramp up the talent.”

“Today’s funding awards will connect people – particularly those from marginalized and underrepresented communities – with the education and training they need for good-paying jobs,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “These grants are designed to empower community colleges to ensure their curriculum meets the needs of employers in their communities and equips workers with valuable skills.”

The money from the federal government is part of $45 million going to 13 colleges in 12 states through the Strengthening Community Colleges Training program.