10-day, Oil Drilling Training program concluded on June 29 and was co-sponsored by Sitting Bull College’s Job Placement and Training Program (JPTP), the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) and office for the Workforce Investment Act.
Harriet Blackhoop, the Workforce Development Coordinator at Sitting Bull College and Candace Eagle, the JPTP Director at Sitting Bull College, coordinated the Oil Drilling Training, along with Anna Cotanny and Volney Fast Horse of the tribe’s TERO division.
Roughneck Certificates were presented to each graduate, with classroom instruction given by Reg MacDonald of Maritime Drilling Schools Ltd, based in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada.
The curriculum for the program was originally developed by the Maritime Drilling School and included introduction to oil rigs, drilling theories, rig equipment, identifying rig components, worker roles and responsibilities, safety rules, oral demonstrations and a final written exam.
“Initially, 23 people enrolled in the class and 22 participants successfully graduated with a certificate of completion,” Blackhoop said. “A graduation ceremony was held on June 27 and I’m so proud of our graduates.”
All participants accepted into the program were required to pass a drug test and background check before participating in the training.
“Safety is a big issue when working in the oil fields,” Blackhoop said. “Drug tests and background checks are common practice for these types of training programs.
With additional money from a Walmart Breaking Through-Jobs for the Future grant, each graduate received some basic job site provisions, including work boots, coveralls, a hard hat and safety goggles, along with Continuing Education Units (CEU).
The Walmart grant was awarded to Sitting Bull College and also helped pay for participant drug testing, bus passes to and from campus and costs associated with a field trip on the last day.
The normal tuition cost for this type of training is $2,500 per student, but because of generous funding from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s TERO division, this recent training was free to any enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe.
Participants for this inaugural class included tribal members from the Standing Rock Reservation and members of other Reservations in the region.
The program ended with a class field trip to the Bakken Oil patch on June 29.