- A project to strengthen career preparation for North Dakota youth has received a $1.5 million boost from Marathon Petroleum Corporation.
- The funding will support completion of a regional career and technical education center intended to serve as a resource for 10 high schools in the west-central region of the state.
- The facility will offer college dual-credit opportunities and instruction in high-demand occupational fields, including construction, agriculture, health care and welding.
The public and private sectors are teaming up to strengthen career preparation for high school students in the west-central region of North Dakota. A state-led initiative to construct a regional career and technical education (CTE) center has received a $1.5 million grant from Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) to support completion of the facility, which will be a resource for 10 high schools and create college dual-credit opportunities for students.
The Heart River Career and Technical Education Center, which will be attached to the new Mandan High School that’s under construction, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2024 with classrooms, laboratories and other learning spaces. The facility will offer instruction that provides hands-on experience in construction, agriculture, manufacturing, health care, welding, culinary arts and other high-demand occupational fields.
“The new center will not only meet the needs of our growing student population, but will also foster creativity and critical thinking, and promote a skilled and capable workforce in the community.”
“The new center will not only meet the needs of our growing student population, but will also foster creativity and critical thinking, and promote a skilled and capable workforce in the community,” said Mandan Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Bitz. “We are incredibly grateful for this partnership."
Establishing a dedicated facility to serve the west-central region of the state is intended to provide new opportunities for students, educators, adult learners and businesses in the area to collaborate on workforce development.
“This facility will serve as a hub for learning, innovation and engagement, and we are proud to be a part of this exciting endeavor,” MPC’s Mandan Refinery General Manager Chris Staats said. “We believe that investing in education is an investment in the future."
MPC’s grant adds to initial construction funding that came from a CTE capital projects grant the North Dakota legislature created in 2021. Additionally, MPC’s ongoing work with tribal-affiliated institutions in North Dakota resulted in an agreement to provide dual-credit opportunities to students who attend United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) in Bismarck.
“These programs enhance skills to help students develop the confidence needed for college-level coursework,” said UTTC President Dr. Leander McDonald. “Dual credit programs like these create educational pathways from high school to post-secondary schools and local employment, which not only benefits students, but also strengthens the overall community.”