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Bismarck State benefiting from alliance with Saudi Arabia

March 24, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Bismarck State College is already seeing success from its alliance with a Saudi Arabian institute, officials said.

Last year, the college was chosen to offer energy sector training and a curriculum at the National Power Academy in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

The academy enrolled its first students last September. It provides six training programs to male high school graduates in Saudi Arabia, which include electrical technician training and renewable energy technician training.

Larry Skogen, president of Bismarck State, said in a recent interview that the collaboration with the National Power Academy is “in the startup phase,” but is already reaping the benefits, The Bismarck Tribune reported.

“We’re feeling very good about it, and that it is a successful operation for the campus,” he said.

The college has been repaid for expenses to begin training and develop a curriculum.

Precise profits are unknown, but officials will be more informed about how much revenue the college has made at the end of the calendar year, Skogen said. College officials previously projected it could bring roughly $20 million to the college over a five-year period.

To date, the National Power Academy has enrolled approximately 170 students and more are expected to enroll in May. Skogen said the objective is to have 200 to 300 students enrolled by the end of the 2018-19 academic year.

The National Power Academy also has signed a contract with two Saudi organizations to offer training programs to female students in future years, according to Skogen.

In Dammam, they’ve hired numerous people, including a dean and 15 faculty members. Skogen said they have employed a number of women staff members since the National Power Academy and Bismarck State were previously critiqued for not authorizing women to work at the academy.

“It’s turning out to be, I think, a pretty positive experience,” Skogen said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com