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Bismarck State Launches New CDL Training Program
North Dakota Ag Connection - 01/21/2021

Bismarck State College's (BSC) Continuing Education Department has launched a new, short-term, Commercial Driver's License (CDL) training program that will train individuals for positions as heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers. Start-up funding for this program came from a grant through the North Dakota Department of Commerce's Smart Restart Technical Skills Training Grant and matching funding from NextEra Energy Resources, LLC.

The ND Department of Commerce received CARES Act funding to provide grants for workforce training programs for displaced workers seeking to develop the technical skills necessary to make a career change and remain gainfully employed in North Dakota. A donation of $100,000 from NextEra Energy Resources will be used as match for a $100,000 grant from the ND Department of Commerce. This $200,000 investment allows BSC to provide the equipment, materials and curriculum needed to launch the training program.

"Technical training programs have extensive start-up costs, and we are grateful to the ND Department of Commerce and NextEra Energy for their contributions to get this program off the ground," said BSC President Douglas J. Jensen. "Without their support, we would not have been able to offer this high-demand program."

NextEra Energy Resources is the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and the sun. The company's subsidiaries currently own and operate 15 wind energy centers in North Dakota, with an additional wind project currently under construction, as well as investments in midstream pipelines supporting Bakken fuels transportation. The CDL job training program will support heavy haul and tractor-trailer jobs in renewable energy, including deliveries of wind turbine components.

"Since 2003, NextEra Energy Resources has been investing in North Dakota. We are committed to continuing our investments in the state and supporting the communities we serve," said John Di Donato, NextEra Energy Resources vice president of development and origination. "The CDL training program will help provide new job opportunities and retraining options for the hard-working people of North Dakota during this unprecedented time."

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers are in high demand throughout North Dakota, and drivers typically earn annual wages of more than $50,000. Training takes place over the course of four weeks with students using an advanced driving simulator as well as behind-the-wheel drive time with faculty. Course completers are eligible to take the North Dakota Department of Transportation CDL road test to achieve licensure.

"At BSC, we are focused on providing affordable and flexible options for working adults to come back to school," said Jensen. "Whether they want to finish their degree or get a short-term training credential, we work with all of our students to achieve their goals and land a career that helps them provide for themselves and their families."

The first CDL training program is underway with additional training schedules available later this spring. Multiple courses will be offered in upcoming months at various times and dates to provide options for potential students. Registration information and requirements are available at www.bismarckstate.edu/drive.


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