The Bakken oil and gas fields may be hundreds of miles from Western Montana communities. But a lot of people in our region work in Sidney and North Dakota.
Others hope to.
That's why the Bitterroot College of the University of Montana has scheduled two-all day continuing education courses.
They will focus on the "nuts and bolts" of field operations.
Students will learn essential terminology and the fundamentals of oil and gas geology.
It is basic, introductory stuff.
Bitterroot Job Service client Annie Wood is thinking of taking the class. She would consider a job in the Bakken.
"I want to save money for the future," said the former truck driver," get going on something long term."
Bitterroot College already offers a geology course.
There is high demand here for more continuing education courses on the Bakken oil and gas fields.
"It brings in all those bits and pieces," said college director Victoria Clark, "so that if you're working in the Bakken you have a sense of how what you're doing fits into the greater exploration and drilling that are happening there."
DeLynn Gardner helps people get jobs at the Bitterroot Job Service. She spent a couple weeks helping at the Job Service in Sidney. She said knowing that country and the work done there is important for anybody whose considering the move.
She thinks the course will give people a "leg up."
DeLynn's husband is a Bitterroot man working in the oil fields of North Dakota.
Derek Gardner is home on break.
"I'd say 60% of the people that I work with are from Western Montana," said Gardner.
He thinks the course will help build confidence for new workers coming in.
The courses will be offered at the Bitterroot College in Hamilton on Friday, July 13th and Friday, July 20th.
The video course is offered from Dawson Community College, and will be facilitated by Bitterroot College geosciences instructor George Furniss.