In 2011, the Hess Corporation donated $25 million to North Dakota for a program dubbed “Succeed 2020.”
"It's a statewide program, aimed at helping North Dakota students be ready for college and careers," said Louise Dardis, the manager of the Succeed 2020 program.
Dardis said says the goals of the five-year program were very ambitious.
"A successful transition from school to college and careers for all North Dakota students," Dardis told Bismarck reporters. "And I stress -- all North Dakota students."
The director for two Regional Education Cooperatives called the program a “game changer” that brought new opportunities for students.
"Opportunities like internships, job shadows, career work-days," said Luke Schafer. "Students got the chance to see what their future could be."
And the results?
"From 2010 to 2016, the North Dakota on-time high school graduation rate increased one percent, remaining three percent above the national average," said Rep. Mike Nathe (R-Bismarck), former chairman of the House Education Committee, and now a member of House Appropriations. "Students receiving state scholarships increased 9 percent. That's astounding."
Hess Corp. North Dakota General Manager Brent Lohnes said Hess is pleased with the results.
"I think it will benefit North Dakota and the children of the state for years to come," Lohnes said.