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  • North Dakota Colleges See Silver Lining in Oil SlowdownJanuary 14, 2016

    Bakken U marketing initiative targets unemployed oil workers and people concerned about career prospects; enrollment is rising

    By MELISSA KORN And KRIS MAHER

    Boom times in North Dakota’s oil fields hit the state’s higher-education sector hard, as young people opted for immediate employment over college enrollment.

    Now, the region’s colleges are seeing a chance to shine once again due to slumping oil prices.

    Administrators are trying to lure unemployed roughnecks, and those concerned about their long-term career prospects, back to campus. The North Dakota University System launched the Bakken U initiative in August, marketing programs at five colleges in the western part of the state, all within about an hour’s drive of the oil fields.

    “North Dakota cares about hardworking people and we want them to stay,” said Mark Hagerott, the system’s chancellor.

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