Heitkamp meets with Feds, Students at FBCC
By Jerry W. Kram
U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp paid Fort Berthold Community College a visit this week. She was accompanied by the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta to meet with federal agency managers and students at the college.
Heitkamp invited Archuleta to North Dakota to speak with North Dakota-based officials from several federal agencies about the problems they face filling and retaining law enforcement and social work positions in Indian Country, jobs at federal oil and natural gas permitting offices, and positions in the natural resources and engineering fields.
The managers told the senator and Archuleta tales of recruiting long term workers within their agencies for offices in the Bakken, only to have them quit after a short time because of the area’s high cost of living and lack of affordable housing. They also spoke about problems with their regional offices not recognizing the difficulties in the region and getting a runaround when they tried to advocate for their employees. Officials from several federal agencies, including the U.S. Bureaus of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), participated in the discussion.