Williston State College is offering a program that’s redefining the way students learn, and state officials couldn’t be more thrilled.
A three-year conversation between WSC President John Miller and North Dakota Apprenticeship Program State Director Barry Dutton led to Wednesday morning’s official signing, granting WSC with its first-ever federal apprenticeship program.
“I think apprenticeships are great. They’re often misunderstood. A lot of people think that apprenticeships are only for union companies and things like that and that’s not the case,” Dutton said.
The Industrial Maintenance Technology program now gives WSC students hands-on training in skill trades needed in oil, energy and manufacturing which is in high demand throughout the country, and specifically northwestern North Dakota.
“Williston State is positioned perfectly. They’re up here in the hub of oil country and they have all these jobs clambering. They need people, they need training and this is all new,” said Dutton.
“This is a skill set that is in high demand with not only the industry here but it applies in manufacturing in public works and in so many other different areas and it’s all just highly needed,” Regional Director of Technical Programs and Training Kenley Nebeker said.
The program is ultimately student-schedule friendly allowing them to work, study and train at their own pace.
“A really driven student might be able to work through this program in a year in a half. Another student that maybe has less time on their hands, or whatever, it might take three years, but either way, we’re able to move through this program at the students’ pace and on their time.” Nebeker said.
For the youngsters who want a piece in this too, they also have an opportunity.
“Ultimately for the highschool level, with this program, it allows them to gain skills to the workforce. Maybe they aren’t wanting to go to college right away or at all. This allows them to gain the skills that they need to really be able to get a really well high paying job very quickly and a job that is in high demand,” Nebeker said.