WILLISTON, N.D. - To emphasize the importance of networking, the petroleum, welding, and transportation departments at Williston State College (WSC) are helping students interact with local companies.
WSC's two petroleum instructors, Alberto Bellina and Gerald (Mack) McGillivray, took ten of their petroleum production technology students on a tour of the Schlumberger Artificial Lift Systems facility near Williston on October 7. Branch Manager Richard Gustafson conducted a tour and explained how downhole pumps work and how his company repairs and rebuilds old and damaged pumps.
"The students learned about the pump's mechanical components," McGillivray said. "All of the students asked good questions and were very appreciative of Mr. Gustafson and his staff taking the time to conduct the tour."
To conclude the day, the petroleum students attended the Bakken Oil Show in Williston hosted by DAWA Solutions Owner/President Jeff Zarling free of charge. Shelley Rencher, WSC welding instructor, also attended this show with fourteen welding students.
"The students were able to learn information about new technologies, vendor services and suppliers in the area, as well as discussing possible internships and employment opportunities," McGillivray stated.
The Career Tech Education (CTE) programs have been incorporating more community involvement into their curriculum. Last year, the transportation department began a series of field trips to showcase potential job opportunities after graduation.
Clay Sponable, WSC transportation instructor, is continuing the tradition of bringing transportation students to local companies this fall. Recently, Sponable took fifteen students to Gooseneck Implement, where they learned how transportation education can apply to other industries.
Sponable, Rencher, and Ken Quamme, business technology chair and CTE director, have all received generous donations for their departments from local industries who have been impressed with their outreach into the business community.
"It is such an great feeling that people want to give back to the college after meeting our students," Quamme observed. "Having support in the industries and companies our students might be working for is an awesome example for them."
SM Energy donated thirty computer monitors to Quamme's computer information technology program. Sponable's transportation department received a toolbox worth an estimated $7,000 from Eileen William after her husband passed away.
Likewise, Rencher has benefitted from her department's relationship with Chamley Pipe and Salvage. "Pipe can be worth close to $35 a foot, so it can get expensive for something students need to practice on," Rencher stated. "We were lucky that they have been so accommodating and helpful to the WSC welding students. Whenever we need something to practice on, they go out of their way to help. We are very grateful."
Implementing job fairs, field trips, and industry speakers in the classroom has allowed WSC's CTE students a means to get one foot in the door in an ever-changing job market. Looking for jobs right now is not easy, but building relationships through these extra-curricular activities has greatly helped.
Likewise, WSC and the CTE programs are also responding to the displacement of workers during the downturn in oil prices.
Bakken U, a partnership program between the five westernmost North Dakota University System (NDUS) colleges and universities has been set up to let the workers and their families who came to the Bakken for work and have been affected by the drop in oil prices, know that there are many options for education out here. We want people to stay, live, work and learn in our great state. WSC always has it's doors open to industry workers who want to return to school to achieve a degree or extend their learning while the industry adjusts to changing markets.
If you are interested in returning to school as part of Bakken U, please contact Enrollment Services at 701.774.4200 or visit www.bakkenu.ndus.edu.
For more information about the WSC CTE programs contact Ken Quamme at 701.774.4207
For any information regarding WSC, please visit www.willistonstate.edu,
call 1.888.863.9455, or stop by 1410 University Avenue, Williston, ND.