WSC introduces Industrial Maintenance Technology apprenticeship program | Williston State College

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WSC introduces Industrial Maintenance Technology apprenticeship program

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WSC introduces Industrial Maintenance Technology apprenticeship program

Posted: Feb 24 2020

WILLISTON, N.D. - Williston State College is proud to announce its first federal apprenticeship program in Industrial Maintenance Technology.

WSC will celebrate this historic event with a signing event this Wednesday, February 26 in the Western Star Building (CTE) on the WSC campus.  

The event begins at 11:30 a.m. with a program overview presented by Dr. John Miller, WSC President; Barry Dutton, North Dakota Apprenticeship Program State Director; and Kenley Nebeker, Regional Director of Technical Programs and Training.  

The signing and a tour of the WSC automation lab will immediately follow. Lunch will be provided.  

Media are welcome and encouraged to attend this event.  

"The US Department of Labor offers federal apprenticeship programs in a variety of skilled trades, giving workforce training centers and colleges an opportunity to design and offer training programs that are highly customizable and recognized by industry across the United States," explained Dr. John Miller, WSC President. "This, combined with industry interest and demand, has resulted in WSC's first apprenticeship program in automation."  

The program gives WSC an opportunity to respond quickly to workforce needs in the northwestern part of the state.  

"The program's goal is to prepare technicians with the instrumentation, controls, and automation skillsets in demand by the local oil and gas industry, as well as other industries utilizing automation," explained Kenley Nebeker, Regional Director of Technical Programs and Training. "Coursework is presented in a hybrid-style, with theory and knowledge gained online and hands-on practice with instrumentation and automation done face-to-face in the WSC automation lab."  

The program's curriculum is designed to help students develop skills and knowledge from essential fundamentals up to intermediate and advanced topics.  

The curriculum provides high-tech skills that are in demand in multiple oil field applications including: variable speed control of oil pumping units; flow metering in pipelines and other oilfield tubulars; pressure control in pipelines, tanks and vessels; level control in oil separators; and temperature control in gas flaring. Skills learned can also be applied in other industries such as renewable energy and manufacturing.  

The apprenticeship is designed to last between one-and-a-half to three years depending on an individual's situation.  

When paired with on the job training, the apprenticeship program advances students that have limited to no background in automation to a higher skill level quickly and students can finish in as little as one-and-a-half years (three semesters).  

"The program costs $1,200 per semester, making it an extremely cost-effective way for employers to train their people to their way of doing things all while providing the apprentice the highest quality of curriculum and teaching," emphasized Nebeker.  

WSC will also be able to extend pre-apprenticeship training and activities down into area high schools and to those interested in completing a GED program, allowing for 16 and 17-year old students interested in automation to begin coursework and then commence with on-the-job training when they turn 18.   

"These efforts will serve to further expand the employment pipeline and allow business and industry a better opportunity to hire trained technicians," stated Dr. Miller.  

Individuals interested in pursuing an AAS and/or moving on to a four-year institution are encouraged to continue with WSC's traditional Petroleum Technology and Automation program.  

"Individuals focused on getting into the workforce quickly will find that the apprenticeship path may be better suited for them," explained Nebeker. "That said, due to the 'Credit for Prior Learning' option attached to the apprenticeship, one can still gain credit toward a degree in the apprenticeship."  

WSC's first apprenticeship is ready to begin when pen is put to paper, and the federal document is signed on Wednesday.  

"I think it is important for companies in our area to note what this apprenticeship program allows them to do in their hiring practices," said Nebeker. "Companies can widen their recruiting net, knowing that they are no longer limited to hiring those already trained. This program will allow anyone who is motivated to learn to be industry ready and employers can recruit based off of soft skills and the motivation to learn."  

"This is a very powerful shift in hiring practices that I believe can be game changing for North Dakota moving forward!"  

For more information on WSC's Industrial Maintenance Technology apprenticeship program, please contact Kenley Nebeker, Regional Director of Technical Programs and Training, at 701.713.3780 or

For more information, please visit, call 701.774.4200, or stop by 1410 University Avenue, Williston, ND.

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