The Bakken Shale Formation in North Dakota is one of the largest oil developments in the country, in the last 40 years.
“Because this is Williston, Williston Basin, the oil field is big. Every student I have, almost has somebody they know that’s in the oil field,” said Williston High School Petroleum Instructor Gerald McGillivray.
For a lot of North Dakotans, their lives revolve around the Bakken, and as a way to help educate the youth on the many opportunities that exist within. Williston High School is taking action now.
“The school board decided to start a petroleum program, we offer petroleum, and it’s a CTE also. It’s pretty exciting because we are the only, first and only, petroleum program in the state,” said McGillvray.
The new CTE or community technical education class offers hands-on training and education — regarding all things Bakken. From driving the big rigs all the way to running and managing an oil corporation, and students couldn’t be more excited to take the class.
“I always wondered what it’s like. What are the risks and what’s the pay, because in the future I want to get my own house or an apartment.”
said 10th-grade student, Ryan Webb.
“I just want to know what it’s all about and see what’s going on,” said 10th-grade student, William Chamley.
And a lot of students have family ties in the industry as well.
“My mom, she works in the oil field and she comes home all the time talking about the rigs and all the equipment they use and I had no clue what any of this was so I decided just to take the class, learn all the stuff so that when she comes home talking about it I know what she’s talking about,” said 10th-grade student Mckenzee Emly.
Or many may just simply see it as an opportunity.
“There’s a lot of money in it. You can buy a house and sometimes, as for me, I’m from Africa and when you have a lot of money you go to Africa and you help people..there’s opportunity,” said 11th-grade student, Abraham Tweh.
Something McGilvray doesn’t disagree on.
“The opportunities are endless, I tell my students when you go on a job interview tell them you’ve taken these classes because the industry is starting to know about our program. We’re starting to get a lot of help from the industry,” said McGillvray.
The class is going on its second semester teaching a combined 100 students.