February 21, 2013

FBCC President supports workforce development

FBCC President supports workforce development
By Jerry W. Kram
Russell Mason, Jr., president of Fort Berthold Community College, testified in front of the North Dakota State Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Senator Ray Holmberg of Grand Forks in support of Senate Bill 2218.
Mason joined the presidents from the five North Dakota Tribal Colleges to request workforce development grant funds through the North Dakota Department of Commerce. Mason testified that there is a huge demand for skilled workers in the Bakken and that vocational training was a major part of FBCC’s mission.
“Career Technical Education will be critical over the next decade,” Mason said. “At the core of that training is the need for facilities and housing to keep pace with ongoing development in the Bakken. Adequate facilities to house training and viable infrastructure to support it and staff will be an expensive, ongoing and a paramount need. It will take multiple resources to accomplish adequate training facilities and infrastructure for Diesel-CDL, Oil Field Tech, Welding and Construction training and keep them adaptable and relevant.”
Mason said there are two factors limiting the number of students FBCC can train to work in the oil patch. The first is funding and the second is infrastructure. He said that North Dakota’s colleges that offer such training have to pursue a variety of funding sources for their programs, including state funding. Like many businesses and families in Western North Dakota, the FBCC is finding it difficult to find room to add facilities and even to find housing for its instructors and students. To address these needs, FBCC works with other colleges to provide the needed training.

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