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A Center for Technical Education has taken a major step toward reality. No one is happier than Minot City Council President Lisa Olson.
The City Council approved transferring a Magic Fund grant of $800,000 to the Minot State University Foundation for the purchase of a Trinity Health building at 120 East Burdick Expressway. The building will be remodeled, equipped, and staffed using $3.5 million in National Disaster Resilience funding.
“I’ve been waiting a long time to move approval on this item,” Olson said during the May 3 City Council meeting. “I’m so happy that we’re at this point. The process has been a little laborious.”
The project was included in the original work plan the City submitted as part of Housing and Urban Development’s National Disaster Resilience contest. Minot was awarded $74.3 million.
“I think I was initially appointed to the committee after we received the NDR grant because I am an educator,” Olson said. “Since then there have been a variety of plans and a number of challenges, but we’re at the point where we will soon see a Center for Technical Education operating in Minot, and that’s very exciting.”
The MSU Foundation will lease the building to Dakota College at Bottineau, which would operate the facility. According to the 10-year agreement, the center must establish at least three academic programs in the first year, four in the second year, or an average of five during years three through 10. The agreement also requires 50 students in the second year, 100 students in the third year or an average of 150 students in years four through 10.
The center is expected to house training programs for a variety of careers, potentially including information technology, certified nursing assistant, management, and other fields.
“I think as a community, we know there are areas of shortage, like IT and CNAs,” Olson said. “But we need to hear from other businesses as to what they’re seeing as shortages of qualified employees. We need to be nimble enough to help when we have a business come to us with specific requests.”
Olson said she envisions a day when the CTE works in collaboration with Minot Public Schools and other education entities to offer more options to help train and retain students in Minot.
“I would like this to be a viable option for a lot of younger adults who may not choose to get a four-year degree, but want to stay in this area,” she said.
Other members of the City Council echoed Olson’s enthusiastic support.
“We need technical education in this community. We need to improve our workforce in that area, and so I’m delighted to see this moving forward,” Alderman Mark Jantzer said.
The center is expected to be operational in the fall of 2022.