North Dakota Entities Partner for State’s First Skills Initiative | Williston State College

to the top of the page
Home Page

North Dakota Entities Partner for State’s First Skills Initiative

  Home  »  News »  

North Dakota Entities Partner for State’s First Skills Initiative

Posted: Jun 12 2017

WATFORD CITY, ND - North Dakotans have read this book before. And it usually doesn't end well. As the story goes, an oil boom draws thousands of people from around the country to the Peace Garden State. Jobs, jobs and more jobs are created in the industry. Then, after some years, oil production slows down and oil jobs dry up. These new people with specific skill sets who have come to the state and established roots in communities are forced to pick up their families and move elsewhere-creating a big void in the local and state economies, a shortfall in the tax base, employers who are without help and families whose children are uprooted from school.

The narrative doesn't always have to be that way for North Dakota communities. That is why the McKenzie County Job Development Authority (MCJDA) is providing a new alternative for workers who want to stay in North Dakota and broaden their skills and perhaps enhance their current career or move on to a new career. It's called the McKenzie County Skills Initiative. The Initiative brings together regional entities to offer classes, training and services at Watford City's new Rough Rider Center-University of Mary offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, Williston State College offers two year degrees, TrainND Northwest offers specific workforce training and enrichment opportunities, and the Small Business Development Center offers free and confidential services to those looking to start or improve their business.  

"Our goal is to make McKenzie County more attractive and marketable for businesses and residents by improving community access to workforce training and other opportunities" explained Daniel Stenberg, director of the MCJDA. "The population boom we've experienced over the past ten years has put our population among cities in North Dakota like Devils Lake and Valley City. I think this model helps us serve a great variety of educational needs for our community in a very nimble and innovative manner."  

Wayde Sick, Workforce Development director for the North Dakota Department of Commerce believes it is grassroots initiatives like this one that have a tremendous economic impact on communities and consequently the entire state. "We are excited to see this partnership and think it shows an innovative way to address workforce and education needs."  

This Initiative is being debuted to the public on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, at the Multi-Industry Job Fair at the Watford City Rough Rider Center from 3-7 p.m. Over 45 employers and hundreds of job seekers are expected to attend.

Through this initiative, MCJDA and their partners are helping to create a new chapter in the oil boom- and-bust saga that often gets played out in communities across the Bakken. With each other's help, it's their intent to turn what is often a tragic story into a happy ending.  

For more information visit  


TrainND helps to expand opportunities by providing comprehensive, customized adult learning and employee training as well as community enrichment classes. TrainND specifically provides: contracted training; open enrollment training; blended learning training; continuing education units and community education for its clients.  

University of Mary provides various degree programs in graduate and undergraduate areas; work with community employers to offer seminar-style trainings and collaborate with Williston State College (WSC) on creating 2+2 agreements so students seamlessly begin work on their bachelor's degree after completing coursework through WSC. Williston State College offers credit classes that can be standalone, towards a two-year degree or transfer to a four-year degree program. WSC delivers: general education; CTE courses, first term and first year undergraduate advising and dual credit/early entry general education core courses.  

North Dakota Small Business Development Center (NDSBDC) helps small businesses start, manage and grow their business. NDSBDC helps with all client and entrepreneurial support activities, small business and client meetings, annual reports and other items as they become necessary.  

To schedule interview(s) contact Daniel Stenberg at or 701-444-7419.

Potential interviewees include:      

Wayde Sick, Workforce Division Director, North Dakota Department of Commerce  
Rachael Brash, Executive Director of University of Mary Worldwide     
Deanette Piesik, CEO, TrainND Northwest     
Dr John Miller, Acting President, Williston State College     
Keith Olson, Regional Director, Small Business Development Center     
Daniel Stenberg, Director, McKenzie County Job Development Authority 

For more information on WSC please visit
call 1.888.863.9455, or stop by 1410 University Avenue, Williston, ND

Williston State College Teton Mascot where the people make the difference