McKenzie County Skills Initiative holds T4 event for students

Local News

There are many ways to teach our youth about the many career opportunities offered here in our state, but one Watford City program is promoting the work industry in a fun, creative way.

For the second year now, McKenzie County Skills Initiative has held its T4 event.

“Tools, trades, torque and technology,” Energy Education Coordinator Kent Ellis said.

Students seventh to 10th grade from in and around Watford City get the opportunity to see first hand what jobs the state has to offer from electrical work, construction and electronics.

“These are industries in need of workforce here in North Dakota and some of the high-value jobs that are available in western and eastern North Dakota,” Ellis said.

Although this is like your traditional career fair, Katie Ralston with the North Dakota Department of Commerce says the benefits are greater.

“It’s one thing to stand at a booth and hope that students stop by and want to engage in a conversation and not just take the free stuff and go, but this type of experience is giving students hands-on opportunities,” Ralston said.

Some of those hands-on opportunities consisted of power line electricity work, welding and excavator simulators.

Students in attendance believe this is positive steps toward their future.

“I’m going to cosmetology school so it’s very different, but it’s still nice to see some options,” Gabby Hogue said.

“A lot of the hands-on gets people excited because you’re not just sitting there getting lectured the entire time,” Alexis Davis said.

“We’re getting this opportunity that we wouldn’t get in a classroom, so it’s really neat that they brought this here for us to learn,” Riley Faller said.

Ellis says the T4 event is not only a career eye opener, but a navigational tool too.

“I think these students who may have to see up to about 11 different career changes throughout their lifetimes — the more that we can give them transportable skills between certifications, two-year technical degrees, the better off they’re going to be for their futures,” Ellis said.

Ellis says roughly 900 students were in attendance for the two-day event.

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