NDSCS gets $1.5M in CARES Act funding

Welding is among the career paths which may be taught through North Dakota State College of Science's upcoming career workforce academy in Fargo. The college has received $1.5 million in CARES Act funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

North Dakota State College of Science, which has locations in Wahpeton and Fargo, has received $1.5 million which will aid in building a career workforce academy in Fargo.

The funding is coming from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). It is made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, North Dakota’s two U.S. senators announced Thursday, Feb. 25.

“Building the new Career Workforce Academy in Fargo will expand access to career and technical training for students in the region, providing them with the opportunity to develop in-demand skills and earn a head start on their careers,” said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

In addition to the $1.5 million, local investments will be used to build the academy. More than 100 jobs are expected to be created. 

Welding, information and communications technology and emergency medical services are among the career paths which may be taught through the academy, NDSCS stated.

“This award will enable NDSCS and our K-12 partners to work together to make the Career Workforce Academy a reality in Fargo,” said Dr. John Richman, NDSCS’ president. “This proven model will provide opportunities for learners of all ages by enhancing career awareness, allowing for exploration and creating seamless career pathways.”

Richman called the award a win-win for NDSCS’ students and the region’s economy.

The academy will provide high school students, traditional college students, and adult learners the opportunity to gain skills in agriculture, manufacturing and engineering, health care and allied sciences, architecture and construction, and information technology, Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., stated.

“By investing in North Dakota’s education system, these CARES Act funds will help create more economic opportunities in the state, both now and in the future,” Cramer said. “Building a Career Workforce Academy in Fargo will strengthen and broaden the potential of our state’s workers. I am glad this project has secured more assistance to help it advance toward completion.”

In 2020, Hoeven stated, he urged EDA Regional Director Angela Martinez to support the career workforce academy project, stressing the Red River Valley’s role as a hub of tech entrepreneurship and the need for skilled labor to further expand and diversify the region’s economy.

“Additionally, this effort will further assist with the economic recovery from COVID-19 across the region by helping businesses attract and retain skilled employees,” Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said. “North Dakota depends on trained, motivated, hard-working individuals to support our economy, and we appreciate EDA investing these CARES Act funds into our state.”

The academy is expected to be operational by the fall of 2022.

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