Wages for welding and manufacturing jobs in western North Dakota and Montana are at all all-time high and are steadily growing. The demand for skilled workers in the manufacturing sector has skyrocketed since the implementation of hydraulic fracturing brought thousands of jobs to remote areas of the United States four years ago. As the demand continues to grow it is becoming more and more difficult to find qualified workers. The Montana University System hopes to remedy this problem. The system has received a new grant that should help lower-income based students and military veterans receive training from two-year colleges in order to gain the skills needed to work in the manufacturing sector.
The program was announced on Thursday, 13 colleges in the state of Montana are eligible for the extra $500,000 funding award. A report in the Ravalli Republic states that the shortage of manufacturing workers in the country could be as high as 200,000. John Cech, the Deputy Commissioner of two-year and community college education in the Montana University System stated, “The impact of the Bakken is making the situation worse here in a Montana.” He said. “If the Keystone pipeline is approved, there will be even further stresses placed on our welding shortage.”