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Marathon Petroleum Corp: Grants rev up commercial driver training at North Dakota tribal colleges

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Access to high-demand career fields is increasing for students at two tribally established colleges in North Dakota. Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) and its midstream component, MPLX, have provided a $100,000 grant to Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC) and a $75,000 grant to United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) that will allow both schools to re-start their commercial driver’s license (CDL) programs and help NHSC make equipment purchases to strengthen its welding trades program.

“We know the programs of these schools will help fill a need. Students will have opportunities to move directly into the workforce after receiving their licenses.”

UTTC is in Bismarck and NHSC is located to the northwest in New Town on the Fort Berthold Reservation. In the surrounding region, MPC operates a refinery in Mandan, and MPLX has an extensive presence through natural gas gathering facilities and related transport trucking operations.

“We have firsthand knowledge of the demand for skilled transport drivers in this state and across the country, so we know the programs of these schools will help fill a need,” said MPLX Transport Operations Senior Manager Mike Hutton. “Because of the demand, students will have opportunities to move directly into the workforce after receiving their licenses.”

MPC and MPLX subject matter experts will provide curriculum assistance to the schools. UTTC’s CDL program is expected to resume this month for the spring semester, and NHSC’s CDL program is expected to return later this year.

Both NHSC and UTTC are four-year institutions that award training certificates, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees. NHSC was founded in 1973 and is tribally chartered by the Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation) of the Fort Berthold Reservation headquarters. UTTC has also been educating students for 50 years and is operated by five tribes: Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold, the Spirit Lake Tribe, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

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