Legislation helpful to all of N.D.

The presidents of North Dakota’s tribal colleges are supporting SB 2218, which would provide $5 million for workplace training grants at the institutions.

The legislation, which has passed the Senate, will be considered by the House next week. The $5 million would be distributed to the state’s five tribal colleges. It would have varied uses, but all uses would be directed toward expanding the colleges’ workforce development programs.

The goal is to help students at the tribal colleges transition into the workforce. The state’s reservations have an average unemployment rate of 55 percent. Yet there are countless unfilled jobs in North Dakota, including oil industry positions and in other areas that support the oil industry. By expanding current programs and creating new ones, tribal college officials are confident they can help students find productive employment as well as help fill some of the vacation positions in the state’s workforce.

It’s a good match, and programs already in place have begun to show success, the college presidents said last week. SB 2218 would provide a boost to those programs already in place. The Senate passed the bill 47-0, and officials are hopeful the legislation receives support in the House as well.

We hope so, too. The money would help both the colleges and potentially companies doing business in North Dakota, too, by providing them with trained employees. SB 2218 should be passed by the House.