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Training center proposed: JSDC pledges $100,000 for N.D. facility that would recruit students for manufacturing careers

The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. pledged $100,000 over four years for a proposed manufacturing training center for southeast North Dakota during its regular meeting Monday. The project will recruit high school students for careers in manufacturing and provide educational opportunities designed to help them fit into regional industries.

The project is a partnership of the North Dakota State College of Science, area businesses and economic development groups.

“The whole idea is to help regional manufacturers be competitive for the local workforce,” said Brad Barth, alumni foundation director for NDSCS. “This approach is mimicking what other industries are doing in recruiting at a high school level.”

Barth said similar programs are active in the area, recruiting diesel technicians and truck drivers.

“Our goal is to recruit at a younger level,” he said. “Get younger people into the pipeline.”

Plans include hiring a business developer and one or two recruiters. The students could be educated at the NDSCS campus at Wahpeton or in specialized training hosted by industries in other communities, Barth said.

“Ideally, we have recruiters traveling the region,” he said. “We find people who want to stay in the area, get them in training, and they stay in the area.”

The JSDC pledge matches a pledge by the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp. The project has a goal of $500,000 and will continue to solicit pledges from economic development groups and businesses within the region.

Once the goal is reached, the program will request additional funding from the North Dakota Legislature for a three- or four-year period after which the program should be self-sufficient.

The JSDC Board of Directors also learned that a prospective business that had planned to build near Jamestown no longer plans to do so.

Ambassador Steel Corp. had planned on purchasing land in the JSDC industrial park near Cavendish Farms. The business prepares rebar products used in construction projects. It had planned to employ up to 10 people.

“The biggest reason was cost concerns with easements from BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway) if the easement doesn’t go through, then the cost of constructing a road,” said DeAnn Bruner, business development coordinator for the JSDC.

Brunner said the company is not considering any other North Dakota locations.

In other business, the approved the sale of a lot in the I-94 Business Park to Charles Rickets. Rickets plans on constructing a building to rent out as shop space for various contractors and businesses.

The board also passed a $15,000 budget for the ACT Program. The ACT Program will provide training and testing for workers in the area.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at