BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — While secondary education is extremely important for some kids, some students might not be as good at hitting the books as others, that’s where Empower Ed comes in.

“Kids excel in different areas,” said Tom Bushaw, an educator with Bismarck Career Academy. “A kid who maybe isn’t as academically inclined in the classroom, you might bring out to a job site like this, and see them flourish, because they have hand skills that they can apply, and they tend to focus more in a moving working environment.”

An extension of the Bismarck Career Academy, Empower Ed, allows kids to work in different faster-paced environments around the community, whether it be helping small businesses with marketing platforms, or finishing a basement.

“It’s just nice getting out in the community and helping other people,” said Owen Barth, a senior with the Academy.

Some Empower Ed students have been spending time at Closet 701’s new location on East Broadway in Bismarck, where they’ve been installing vinyl floor trim throughout the building.

The students say this project has exercised their problem-solving skills.

“The walls, they weren’t all necessarily straight, so we had to overcome that,” said senior Landon McMahen. “And on the concrete, there were some lumps and stuff like that, so we had to cut some angles.”

Students say, in addition to fulfilling graduation requirements, they also learn important life skills through the program.

“When we get older, we can do it ourselves, we don’t have to hire it done, and it helps us, we can get speaking and listening grades for English,” added McMahen. “It’s kind of just like the hands-on work versus going to a notebook or reading a book or something like that, you get stuff checked off for school, and you can come out here and you can actually do the stuff.”

And they’re happy to give back to the community through their hands-on work experience.

“Closet 701 does a lot for people, they give out to people, and it’s nice just to come here and give something back to them because they’re always taking out of their own pockets,” said McMahen. “And then we come in here and we do this for them, and it would’ve cost them a lot of money just to get it hired done.”

Students say Empower Ed is a game-changer for their future and for the future of the community.

“I’m thankful for BPS in letting the Empower Ed go throughout the career academy,” said senior Jayden Levi. “It helps all of us as students, and I think every school should do it.”

Educators with Empower Ed say they’re looking for different ways to help out in the community.
If you’re interested in receiving help from the students, all you need to do is reach out to them here.