20x20 Program: A successful partnership

Brad Barth Forward Devils Lake
Alex with his supervisor from Marketplace Ford, Chris Devier.

Alex Lowery shows up at 3 p.m. each day to start his shift at Marketplace Ford with a smile on his face knowing that he is going to get a paycheck for his part-time job there. He is also less stressed because he knows that his effort and time at the dealership is leading to very little college debt and a full-time job guarantee when he gets his Diploma in Automotive Technology at Lake Region State College.

This is all possible because Marketplace Ford is a participant in a combination of programs offered by Forward Devils Lake Corporation and the State of North Dakota. Marketplace Ford has agreed to sponsor Alex and to guarantee him a job upon his successful completion of the Automotive Technology program at Lake Region State College. Alex has agreed to work part-time while attending LRSC and to work full time as an Automotive Technician at Marketplace Ford for three years after he graduates. Marketplace Ford has also committed to paying/reimbursing Alex for approximately 80% of his two-year cost to attend Lake Region State College.

Thanks to the Forward Devils Lake 20x20 program and the State of North Dakota’s Career Builder Scholarship program we are helping local and regional businesses sponsor a student in a skilled technical occupation. The goal of the 20x20 program is to keep and build our Lake Region skilled and technical workforce and to create a pipeline of future trained talent to replace the retiring workers of today.

The challenges of the program are many as it requires companies to commit to a potential employee today and yet the future employee will not begin to work for them full time until they complete their degree or program. Ideally the business and student/employee will get some time to learn about each other through summer internships or in the case of Alex during part-time work at the business prior to graduating from the program. Conversely, the student also promises to work for the business for at least three years upon graduation after their two years of education, for some students committing the next five years of their life is just something they are not willing to do. Alex Lowery on the other hand is excited about the opportunity and his decision,

“After graduating from Langdon High School this past spring, and learning about the 20x20 program I have been able to start at LRSC and work for my future full-time employer at the same time and when I’m done with the program I will have very little debt and a great job with great pay.” His immediate supervisor, Chris Devier of Marketplace Ford is also pleased because he is getting a motivated, hard-working young man who will be highly trained and ready to work. “The program is definitely a win-win-win for Marketplace Ford, Lake Region State College and for Alex, it is great to see him show up part-time and knowing that eventually he will become a skilled technician for us.”

To learn more about Forward Devils Lake Workforce 20x20 program and the State of ND Career Builder Scholarship program contact Brad Barth at (701)662-4933 or email him at brad@devilslakend.com

Look for more success stories from the 20x20 program in the coming weeks!