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Bismarck State College’s Power Plant Technology program celebrates 40 years

Published: Sep 15 2016
Bismarck State College’s Power Plant Technology program celebrates 40 years - Photo
Students entering Bismarck State College’s Power Plant Technology program this fall mark the 40th incoming class for this pioneering program. Power Plant Technology was established at BSC in 1976, with strong support from local power generating facilities.  The program was developed in response to demand for a skilled workforce to fill positions in the growing energy economy.
“This program has been at the heart of our reputation as a partner in the energy industry in the region,” says Larry C. Skogen, BSC President & Interim Provost & VP for Academic and Student Affairs.  “We have built a strong education and training ground that provides good careers and a strong economy.”
The program can be completed in two years or less and prepares graduates for entry-level positions in the power generation sector of the energy industry.  Graduates are trained to step into operator positions and have an immediate impact on their facility.
“In the 40 years the Power Plant Technology program has been in existence, thousands of graduates have contributed to the energy success of our country while providing a good life for themselves and their families,” says Dan Schmidt, Department Chair.
According to Schmidt, as industry and technology have evolved, so has the program. Today, state-of-the-art labs are filled with equipment, plant systems, simulators and much more ensuring students gain the highly technical skill sets required in the workplace.
In 1999, BSC, in partnership with the industry and the Electric Power Research Institute, secured a National Science Foundation award and began moving some of the program courses online. Industry and student response to the online offerings was strong, so BSC continued to build the rest of the program into an online offering coupled with hands-on competencies. Today, BSC has ten online energy degree and certificate programs, and has students and graduates in every state.
The Department of Energy (DOE) named BSC the National Power Plant Operations Technology and Education Center on May 18, 2007.  This official designation recognizes BSC as the premier national center of education and training for operators and technicians in the energy industry.
The program is housed with 11 other energy programs in the National Energy Center of Excellence on the BSC campus.
For more information about BSC’s energy programs, visit