By Matthew Liedke
North Dakota State College of Science’s mission includes providing workforce training for statewide and regional need. A $2.7 million grant will help the institution keep that pledge.
Recently, NDSCS was awarded the huge grant as part of the North Dakota Advanced Manufacturing Skills Training Initiative.
“It’s a federal grant that was created to help increase the number of people in the work force with the skills that business and industry need,” said Dean of Technologies and Services Division Barbara Bang. “It’s to help you be flexible and find ways to provide education that works for the adult population and traditional-age students.”
The grant was available from the Department of Labor and Bang said there are multiple grants that many schools apply for. Most of the grants awarded go to two-year colleges, as their primary goal is to help strengthen the workforce in the United States.
According to a press release issued from the North Dakota Congressional Delegation, both U.S. Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., sent a letter in June to the Department of Labor in support of NDSCS’ grant application.
Bang said the grant is designed to be issued over a four year period, starting in October.
“We’re going to spend this year gearing up and hiring people who will help with the grant and purchasing equipment,” Bang said. “By next year we will be doing a lot of work in creating the curriculum and installing the equipment.”
This grant will be used in multiple ways.
“We will be advancing our manufacturing capabilities, specifically in the areas of welding, robotics, automation and fabrication,” Bang explained. “We will have a mobile unit to take to business and industry across the state, which will allow us to provide training for companies.”
One of the reasons NDSCS applied for the grant was due to the demand the school received from industry. There is so much manufacturing in the southeastern part of the state and officials need a larger skilled workforce.
“This grant will allow the college to be able to respond to business and industry people,” Bang said. “It helps us advance the technology we utilize, helps us be more mobile, provides the staffing that can do this and it’s a huge opportunity to move to the next level in manufacturing.”
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