Sandwiched in between the Bakken Oil Products and Services Show’s annual two days — where the oilfield’s latest and greatest products are presented — is a brand new event for youths in the region, the Oil and Gas Industry Career Fair.

While associated with BOPSS, this is a brand new event, with a mission all its own. It is geared toward high school and college students and their parents, to help illuminate all the different career opportunities that the oilfield offers, along with guidance on educational pathways that students can take to get there.

“People have different perceptions of the oil and gas industry,” said Jeff Zarling, organizer of BOPPS as well as the new career fair. “It’s not just rig hands slinging chain, which we don’t do any more. There are engineering opportunities, electrical and IT technicians. There are hundreds of job opportunities and different career paths open. This is an opportunity for the industry to present it in a more organized fashion, instead of hearsay and misperceptions.”

Zarling said the idea came about through discussions with industry, as well as a recent roundtable discussion. During that discussion it was pointed out how many women are finding job opportunities in the oilfield, from procurement and safety to petroleum and chemical engineering.

“There are just hundreds of job titles that fit opportunities the students are looking for,” Zarling said. “So once they understand that, then we want to have information for them from our educational providers that provide the pathways to these careers.”

Williston State College, University of North Dakota, TrainND, and Bismarck State College are among the educational institutions that have already committed to participating in the event, which has been sponsored by Hess and Oasis Petroleum.

The event is set for 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 2, which is the first day of the annual BOPSS show in the upstairs room of the Raymond Family Community Center. Additional information about the event is available online at

This free event will include a meal of “oilfield grub.”

Zarling said oilfield companies have become well known for informal cookouts that take place at their facilities, whether rig sites or field headquarters.

Among recent public examples of this oilfield grub, a Halliburton crew cooked up pulled pork for barbecue sandwiches that were served at its recent open house.

“We will have an oilfield service company cook up some food, and then we’ll have the program where they get to learn about industry opportunities and what careers are available in the oil and gas industry,” Zarling said.

That information will include compensation and salaries, as well as other information needed to make decisions about what career to pursue.

Last but not least, the program will also include information about scholarships and apprenticeships that are available to help pay for education or that provide on-the-job training. Among the latter are the Hess JET program, which combines traditional classroom training with Bismarck State College with on-the-job training and mentorship by Hess staff.

“We think this is something that needs to be executed on an ongoing basis as well, as new students and parents come along,” Zarling said. “And we think it’s important that parents are involved, because parents help their children understand these things and make decisions.”

Load comments