BISMARCK — Growing up in North Dakota, I have been able to experience the state both before and during the oil boom.

During my childhood, I spent a lot of time in western North Dakota and watched as many towns seemed to slowly wither away as more and more residents and businesses moved either out of state or to larger cities within the state.

For North Dakotans like me who graduated from high school in the past decade, two major events have shaped the economic outlook of our careers.

While the recession and housing crisis sent the U.S. economy into a tailspin, the downturn was superseded for North Dakota youth by the Bakken Oil Boom, an event that made North Dakota an island of prosperity in a sea of states in financial turmoil.

For young adults who elect to stay in North Dakota, the opportunity to build satisfying, rewarding careers has never been better. In fact, because of our booming economy, we have great-paying job prospects not only in technical professions such as engineering, computer science, welding and medicine, but also in many other careers such as finance, marketing and accounting.

The energy industry provides careers to people of all educational backgrounds with tremendous potential to move up the career ladder.

I chose to major in mechanical engineering at North Dakota State University. The major should provide me with a wide range of job opportunities and let me move within the industry.

I’ve had the privilege of protecting our state’s natural resources and ensuring the safety of our well sites through environmental surveys as well as spending the past two years in Minot within the pipeline industry — an industry that offers a permanent solution to our dependence on trucking, making our roads less crowded and safer.

It is clear at this point that the Bakken Oil Boom isn’t merely a short term (black) gold rush; it’s here to stay.

My generation, new to the workforce, will find tremendous career opportunities because of our thriving energy industry, jobs that as few as 10 years ago were not available in North Dakota.

Clay Feldner

 


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