Investing and expanding with education

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Companies operating throughout North Dakota and in the Bakken region may differ in size, scope and mission, but many of them share one common challenge – recruiting, developing and maintaining a skilled workforce. One effective solution to the challenge has been for organizations to look within themselves and invest in developing the employees they already have. Once a company hires an individual for any position, expanding that employee’s skills and knowledge benefits both the employer and the employee.

The Bismarck State College National Energy Center of Excellence has helped employers across the country develop and retain their existing workforce through an array of offerings directly pertaining to the energy industry. BSC offers 12 energy degree and certificate programs that focus on operations, maintenance, instrumentation and energy services, all of which are in high demand in the Bakken region. State-of-the-art technology and equipment, interactive simulations and 3D modeling are all used to train BSC students for careers in the energy industry throughout the nation.

Most of BSC’s energy programs are available online, allowing students to continue their education wherever they are. All that is needed is an Internet connection. The instructor-led coursework is available 24 hours a day and is delivered autonomously. Employees can take online classes while maintaining full-time employment, allowing them to immediately apply their learning to their position. The hands-on components required for some programs can often be completed at the employee’s regular worksite.  

Once an employee has completed an energy degree through BSC, they have the option to continue their education and earn a Bachelor of Applied Science in Energy Management. This program, offered entirely online, develops and prepares individuals currently employed in the energy industry for management and supervisory positions. This allows companies to identify individuals with leadership potential and equips them with the additional skills needed for success in those roles.

Many times, companies will offer tuition assistance and reimbursement programs for their employees which can build a more loyal, dedicated workforce and reduce turnover rates. Studies show that companies who invest in their employees experience an increase in employee retention and overall morale. Having employees understand their role in an organization and the impact they have on the overall efficiency, safety and productivity of the company is invaluable. 

What can you do as an employer? Identify high-performers in your organization and approach them with the possibility of going back to school. Make sure your employees are aware of tuition assistance and reimbursement programs, and encourage them to take advantage of them. Foster an environment of continuous learning and training and set an example by enrolling in coursework yourself.

To learn more about the Bismarck State College National Energy Center of Excellence, visit, call 701-224-5651, or email

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