BSC receives USDA funds to support agriculture workforce training | Bismarck State College

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BSC receives USDA funds to support agriculture workforce training

Published: Jun 16 2020
North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, announced last week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded $458,839 to Bismarck State College to support hands-on education opportunities and workforce training for students interested in becoming a custom applicator.
 
“BSC appreciates the USDA for providing this grant that will allow us to meet the growing challenges of ensuring our agricultural workforce has the right, highly technical skillsets,” says BSC President Larry C. Skogen. “Our agriculturalists feed the world, and we at BSC are proud to help provide that industry with its needed workforce.”
 
BSC will use the funds for the creation of an online, eight-credit certificate of completion in custom applicator training. The program will be available to students starting in the fall of 2021.
 
“This certificate will develop students in the areas of applicator equipment operation, crop production, applied math and precision agriculture,” says BSC Associate Professor of Agriculture, Technology and Natural Resources Lindsey Novak. “The online delivery provides an opportunity for local and rural individuals looking to begin a career in agriculture.”
 
Twelve awardees were selected from more than 30 applications. BSC and Dakota College at Bottineau were the only two North Dakota recipients of funds.
 
“It’s vital our students have access to proper certification and training for their careers,” said Hoeven. “Today’s funding will support workforce training opportunities at both community colleges to provide students with experience and proper certification pertaining to careers involving agribusinesses.”
 
These awards are made possible through the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative’s (AFRI) Agricultural Workforce Training program priority area. This is the first time that the NIFA has specifically targeted community colleges to increase training opportunities for the food and agricultural workforce sector.
 
“Community colleges provide substantial workforce development throughout the nation,” said NIFA Director Scott Angle. “These awards will lead to workers earning a two-year degree or an industry-accepted credential, which will open better job opportunities in the food and agricultural sector.”