U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo has announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.9 million grant to Bismarck State College (BSC) to purchase high-tech laboratory and classroom equipment in support of polytechnic career programs.
“This EDA investment will upskill and diversify the workforce in North Dakota, leading to a stronger, robust regional economy,” said Raimondo.
BSC will use the funding to purchase high-tech industry equipment and tools to enhance real-world, hands-on training and prepare students for good-paying, in-demand jobs in areas such as industrial automation, welding, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), CDL (commercial driver’s license), lineworker, mechanical maintenance and others.
“As the state’s only polytechnic institution, BSC is well-positioned to meet the critical workforce demand in these high-skill areas. Industry partners are supporting this project to ensure that curriculum and state-of-the-art equipment will help students be workforce-ready on day one of their careers,” said BSC President Doug Jensen.
“Through our Business and Industry Leadership Teams (BILT), we are able to target more hands-on opportunities and experiential learning,” said BSC Polytechnic Program Outreach Director Alicia Uhde. “Under the polytechnic umbrella, these training programs will implement the standards of Industry 4.0 essentials, preparing students for a workforce that is increasingly automated and digitally connected.”
This grant, funded by the American Rescue Plan and EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment, will fund the BSC Polytechnic Capacity Building Project in purchasing lab and classroom equipment. The EDA investment will be matched with $467,828 in local funds and is expected to expand industry workforce.
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Lewis & Clark Regional Development Council (LCRDC). EDA funds the LCRDC to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.
The EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program makes $500 million in grants available to American communities to help plan, build, innovate and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs.
EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment allocates $300 million of EDA’s $3 billion American Rescue Plan appropriation to support coal communities as they recover from the pandemic and to help them create new jobs and opportunities, including through the creation or expansion of a new industry sector.