ND Career Builders receives $25,000 grant from Microsoft to help support computer science programs

BISMARCK, N.D. – The ND Career Builders program received a $25,000 grant from Microsoft TechSpark to promote enrollment in Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services certificates and degrees throughout North Dakota.

“We very much appreciate Microsoft’s contribution to help recruit and retain students in this high demand and emerging occupation area,” said NDUS Vice Chancellor Lisa Johnson.  “Recipients agree to live in ND and work in a high-demand or emerging occupation for three years to receive the full benefit of the program. While business gains a qualified employee, for the recipient, the program provides an opportunity to access and afford in-demand degrees, as well as reduce loan indebtedness. We rely on the support of workforce partners to make these opportunities happen for students.” 

The program was created for businesses to attract and retain talent into high need and emerging occupations in the state and fill skilled-workforce positions. The program is a partnership between the state, business, institutions, students, and employees.  

“One of the goals of Microsoft TechSpark is to drive economic development and spur job creation in rural America. What better way to do this than by supporting the education of students and businesses in North Dakota through the Career Builders program?” said Taya Spelhaug, regional manager for Microsoft TechSpark in North Dakota. Most of North Dakota’s small businesses have fewer than nine employees, and our grant to ND Career Builders will give those businesses a chance to gainfully employ some of our region’s top IT talent and help our state recruit talent within and outside of North Dakota.” 

Since August 2019 the ND Career Builders initiative, with the private-sector and state match, has helped almost 40 different occupations in the state and awarded more than $543,000 in scholarships and student loan repayments. These dollars have helped recruit employees into skilled workforce positions throughout the state. 

The ND Career Builders Scholarship and Loan Repayment program, instituted by the 2019 North Dakota Legislative Assembly, has been actively awarding scholarships and loan repayment since August 2019. The uniqueness of this program is that it is a dollar-for-dollar matching program whereby the state will contribute $1 for every $1 of private-sector matching dollars received for a recipient. To date, 51 individual private-sector donors have contributed matching private-sector dollars for scholarship and loan repayment. 

The high-need and emerging occupations list, developed by Workforce Development Council and Job Service ND, drives the program. The list includes 75 individual occupations including nursing, computer programming, cyber security, electrical engineering, welding, petroleum engineering and others. 

Under either the scholarship or loan repayment, individuals may qualify for up to $17,000. The list of in-demand qualifying careers was developed by the partnership agencies. 

To see the list of qualifying occupations, learn more about and apply for scholarship and loan repayment visit ndus.edu/career-builders. Contact the program administrator, NDUS, at 701-328-2906 or at ndfinaid@ndus.edu with questions.

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About NDUS
The North Dakota University System is a unified system of higher education governed by the State Board of Higher Education. Organized in 1990, the system includes two research universities, four regional universities and five community colleges. The mission of the State Board of Higher Education and the Chancellor of the North Dakota University System is to unleash the potential of higher education in the state to enhance the quality of life, and the social and economic vitality of all served by its public colleges and universities.

About Microsoft
At Microsoft, we believe in a future where every person has the skills, knowledge and opportunities to achieve more. We’re committed to empowering people, communities and organizations around the globe in our effort to ensure an inclusive economic recovery.