Bismarck State College partners with Saudi Arabia institute
BISMARCK (AP) — Bismarck State College is partnering with a Saudi Arabia-based institute to provide energy industry training to Saudi youth.
The college was chosen for a five-year contract to provide curriculum and training at the National Power Academy in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi government formed the National Power Academy in 2014 to fulfill the country’s energy sector workforce needs, reduce unemployment and support existing efforts to become energy efficient.
Bismarck State College’s National Energy Center of Excellence will serve as a model for the academy, which will be run by leading companies in the Saudi power sector.
Under its pending partnership with the academy, BSC will offer industrial, non-credit training through a three-year program for Saudi high school graduates. The program could have as many as 800 students.
It’s a move that could net the college several million dollars over the next five years, particularly at a time when the school has been facing budget cuts, the Bismarck Tribune reported .
Last year, BSC’s budget was slashed by $7.4 million. The college had to eliminate more than 30 positions.
BSC President Larry Skogen said if the deal is realized, the agreement is an opportunity to increase revenue for the college. Contract negotiations are ongoing.
The contract would require the college to establish a limited liability company that operates independently. The company would manage the revenue, which would be put into a foundation and then distributed back to the college through a grant process.
Skogen and other school officials first learned about the partnership when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia solicited proposals from institutions around the globe. The college was among the top three finalists with Germany and Great Britain.
“It just shows that North Dakota has truly global capabilities,” said Mark Hagerott, chancellor of the North Dakota University System. “We’re really proud of (BSC) for showing this initiative.”