Clay Feldner, Bismarck
Growing up in North Dakota I have been able to experience the state both before and during the oil boom. During my childhood I spent a lot of time in western North Dakota and watched as many towns seemed to slowly wither away as more and more residents and businesses moved either out of state or to larger cities within the state.
For those like me who graduated high school in North Dakota within the past decade, two major events occurred that shaped the economic outlook of our careers. While the recession and housing crisis sent the economy of the United States into the worst condition since the Great Depression, the downturn was superseded for North Dakota youth by the Bakken Oil Boom, an event that made North Dakota a shining example of prosperity amidst many other states in financial turmoil.
For young adults who elect to stay in North Dakota, the opportunity to build satisfying, rewarding careers has never been better. In fact, because of our booming economy, we not only have great-paying job prospects for those in more technical professions such as engineering, computer science, welding, and medicine but also in numerous other careers including, but not limited to, those in finance, marketing, and accounting. The energy industry provides careers to people of all educational backgrounds with tremendous potential to move up the career ladder.
Personally, I chose to pursue a major in mechanical engineering at NDSU, a major which would provide me with a wide range of job opportunities regardless of my location and allow me to move within the industry. I've had the privilege of protecting our state's natural resources and ensuring the safety of our well sites through environmental surveys as well as spending the past two years in Minot within the pipeline industry an industry that offers a permanent solution to our dependence on trucking, making our roads less crowded and safer.
It is clear at this point that the Bakken Oil Boom isn't merely a short term (black) gold rush; it is here to stay. My generation, new to the workforce, will find tremendous career opportunities because of our thriving energy industry, jobs that as few as 10 years ago were not available in North Dakota.