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By Rachel Richter Lordemann, President, Williston Area Chamber of Commerce
There is a certain energy in the air around Williston, ND – and it’s not just coming from well sites! Williston is becoming a mecca for young professionals, and the creativity and innovation they are bringing to our community is palpable.
North Dakota was recently ranked as the Best Place to Live for Millennials by MoneyRates.com who called our state “a magnet for young adults.” Williston, ND has a median age of only 31 – four years younger than the state average of 35.
When choosing the best place to live for young adults, seven factors were taken into consideration: unemployment, college tuition, housing availability, cost of housing, Internet access, nightlife, and fitness. Thanks to our energy boom, Williston is ahead of the game and leading the charge in North Dakota for professionals under 35 in many of those key areas, most notably:
• Unemployment: The unemployment rate in Williams County is 1.5 percent compared to a national average of 3.6 percent. According to Job Service of Williston, there were 1,434 available jobs in July 2019. Not only are those job openings in the oil and gas industry, they spread across all sectors, including medical, education, agriculture, and more. A visit to jobsnd.com will show the vast opportunities for employment at all education levels, with almost 80 percent of available jobs only requiring an associate’s degree or high school diploma. This means that those for whom a traditional college education isn’t fitting can still find the start to an incredibly successful career.
College tuition: For those that are looking to kick-start their career with a college education, Williston State College boasts one of the most impressive tuition assistance programs in the nation. Any high school graduate from Williams or one of any nine surrounding counties can attend Williston State College tuition free through the Williston State College Foundation. Students can receive degrees that position them for success at four-year institutions or can earn certificates and associate’s degrees that will set them up for success in any of the Williston area’s booming industries. Additionally, TrainND has recently rolled out their One Basin, One Way! program to provide affordable, standardized safety training for producers and contractors in the Bakken.
All of this and so much more make Williston an exciting place for millennials. The career opportunities in our area for those under 35 are unmatched anywhere else in the nation. You will find smart, capable young people leading our energy industry, involved in local politics, teaching our next generation, and owning and operating successful businesses.
There are even more exciting, attractive expansions to come. The Williston International Airport will begin operations on October 10th, opening up our region to expanded air travel and making our community even easier to access. The former Sloulin Field Airport site will offer space for increases in affordable housing, schools, and medical facilities, and tremendous opportunities for new retail, dining, and community facilities. Williston Public School District is currently fundraising to create an Innovation Academy that will help to shape our next generation of young leaders.
I would encourage any young person, especially those looking for a place to start their career, to come to Williston! Not only are there a great number of job opportunities, but the professional and personal development that comes from working in Williston’s fast-paced, high energy workforce will prepare you to succeed in any career path you choose.
To learn more about the job opportunities and programs mentioned above, visit jobsnd.com, willistonstate.edu, xwaproject.com, and willistonschools.org.by