NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — The North Dakota Tribal College System announced a new apprenticeship program to help put Native Americans to work across the state.

The program was developed in partnership with Hess Corporation to improve educational and employment opportunities for Native Americans across North Dakota.

“Our hope is that this program will provide tribal college students to build rewarding careers in high-impact areas,” said John Hess, CEO of Hess.

Over the next four years, Hess will invest $12 million to provide tuition assistance and other support for establishing apprenticeships in a variety of industries.

The new statewide program will provide tribal college students with on-the-job training through college work-study, internships, and apprenticeships.

According to Governor Burgum, some tribal communities have an unemployment rate of over 50%.

“I learned how much unemployment was in our tribal communities, I said I will never as an elected leader be one of these folks that goes around bragging about low unemployment when I know we got communities who are struggling,” said Governor Burgum.

President of Little Hoop Community College Dr. Cynthia Lindquist says the pathway through changing lives is education.

“We still need help. We need doors to be opened,” said Lindquist. “That is what today is about. New partnerships, new relationships new collaboration.”

Halliburton and Nabors Industries will each invest $1 million in the new apprenticeship program.

The new apprenticeship program is scheduled to begin in January.