Last month, Williston State College was named one of 30 community colleges selected as 2020 finalists for the highly coveted Bellwether Awards given by the Bellwether College Consortium.

The BCC is comprised of award-winning colleges charged with addressing critical issues facing community colleges through applicable research.

The nationally recognized Bellwether Award focuses on innovative practices and programs worthy of replication and is given in three categories: instructional programs and services; planning, governance, and finance; and workforce development.

Finalists will compete for one of the three awards at the 26th Annual Community College Futures Assembly to be held in San Antonio, Texas from Feb. 2-4.

A rigorous selection process with two rounds of judging by peers and practioners in the field culminates with a day-long event of presentations by contenders for the Bellwether Awards.

WSC and its ONE BASIN-One Way! program is a finalist in the workforce development category, which identifies strategic alliances that promote community and economic development.

A standardized contractor safety orientation program, ONE BASIN-One Way! was developed by members of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, including producers and contractors, based in the Bakken.

A program of the NDPC, ONE BASIN-One Way! is provided by the North Dakota Safety Council and TrainND Northwest, a division of WSC.

A third entity, Diamond B, assists by providing a software platform they designed called ProCertX, which was built specifically for the training and certification challenges subcontractors and producers face.

“The ONE BASIN-One Way! program is a unique example of a workforce training initiative that is a public and private partnership,” explained Dr. John Miller, WSC President. “In addition, the groundwork for the program was done without exterior funding and it operates on its own from training proceeds and with no additional funding.”

By standardizing the orientation curriculum across the Bakken, this unique program eliminates duplicative training, increases efficiency, and increases production numbers.

“ONE BASIN-One Way! was designed around three main goals: increase efficiency, increase safety, and save contractors money,” emphasized Kenley Nebeker, director for technical programs and training at TrainND Northwest. “Each of these goals is important to the oil and gas workforce in North Dakota in meeting the challenges we face in our state.”

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