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Published December 03, 2012, 01:46 PM

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe starts training program for oilfield workers

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Native American tribe plans to start a new job training program centered on preparing tribal members for oilfield-related careers.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Native American tribe plans to start a new job training program centered on preparing tribal members for oilfield-related careers.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is starting a rock crusher job training program to give tribal members the skills needed to work in North Dakota's booming oil patch, The Bismarck Tribune reported Monday. The tribe's headquarters are on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, which straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border.

The tribe has purchased a $2.7 million rock crusher, two front end loaders, a bulldozer and two smaller loaders for the training program.

Six people will be accepted into the first training session, which will start this spring. The training takes about 500 hours, said Anna Cotanny, director of the Tribal Employment Rights Office.

To apply, tribal members have to be certified by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, have a valid driver's license, pass a drug test and take part in an interview, Cotanny said. Tribal members will be paid $13 per hour while undergoing training, she said.

Cotanny said the job training program will help tribal members gain employment and build up trainees' confidence when applying and starting a job.

"Sometimes these employers they require certain credentials. Those are mainly for safety," Cotanny said. "I think it's important because it (job training) helps them get hired on quicker."

Fees from the Tribal Employment Rights Office are covering the cost of conducting the training and paying for the equipment.

Kory McLaughlin, a rock crusher supervisor, said the first part of the program will be spent getting each trainee comfortable operating all of the machines.

McLaughlin said he also will teach trainees how to service equipment and follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, as well as provide information about weight scales.

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