Bismarck’s University of Mary is launching a new Workforce Development initiative.
It’s doing so with the help of a $2 million investment from Energy Transfer Partners.
U-Mary president Monsignor James Shea said workforce is one of the top issues facing North Dakota right now. He said the first step is to find out what employers in North Dakota are looking for.
"We're in a discovery phase," Shea said. "We're engaging in an interview process with various stakeholders and businesses throughout the state of North Dakota."
Shea said the results will be shared with the other colleges in North Dakota, as well as the Greater North Dakota Chamber.
"We can all rally around this cause in a data-driven way," Shea said.
After that comes implementation.
"We know we're missing people," said U-Mary vice president for public affairs Jerome Richter. "So how do we serve them? Where are the particulars to serve them in the right way?"
Richter said this will help higher education find out how to serve the needs.
The $2 million from Energy Transfer Partners cones without strings attached.
"What the University is doing in getting the stakeholders involved will help find out what the needs are," said Energy Transfer Partners executive vice president Chris Curia. "There may be several solutions. It's a big problem."
The study will be done by mid-April.