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Tribal College Student Gets Hands On Experience with Internship

Marcel Chase, a Construction Technology student at Fort Berthold Community College, is the first to intern in the Career Technical Education program.
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Marcel Chase, a Construction Technology student at Fort Berthold Community College in New Town, North Dakota, is the first intern to participate in the Career Technical Education program.

He is learning how to install roof ventilation and insulation on a college building project. His internship began in June and will continue “until his learning goals have been met,” says a press release from the college.

“I like the work, but sometimes the weather stops us,” Chase said. He is a new student to the Construction Technology department and says he “looks forward to more learning.”

Chase’s internship was made possible through the TREND grant program at Fort Berthold Community College. Funding was awarded to FBCC and four other colleges in North Dakota by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Chase’s instructor, John Sharpfish, and grant coordinator Edna Sailor feel that real world experience is one of the best teachers and Marcel is learning how to cope with the recent rains and high temperatures.

Sailor said the future is bright for TREND grant programs at FBCC because the hands-on experience is invaluable to employers.

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“We have worked hard on our industry partnerships since the implementation of the grant period. We are building in both paid and unpaid internships to all of the Career Technical Education programs, she said. “Over the past 10 years I have seen time and again the maturing and employability of students grow significantly once they get that important experience. Students gain skill and learn responsibility and accountability to employers.”

Chase is a good example of this. His internship just started this month and Sharpfish sees his potential.

“Marcel is very good about his safety. He makes sure he has all of his equipment on and is especially safety conscious when working with tools,” he said. “It is a good thing to see.”

Other career paths that will be offered in the fall semester by the Career Technical Education program include CDL training, refinery training for the Thunder Buttes Refinery, and Petroleum Field Operations.

Other programs could emerge as the energy industry grows as well.

“Together, the oil industry, the community and Fort Berthold College will lead the way in creating a culture of safety in western North Dakota,” Sailor said. “All programs will carry this specific emphasis.”