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Williston jobs still plentiful, becoming more specialized

Although activity in North Dakota’s Bakken oil patch has slowed dramatically from the frantic activity just a year ago, hiring is still going strong, but it’s becoming more specialized.

As reported by The Bakken Magazine, the area surrounding Williston, North Dakota, a community in the oil patch core, is still dealing with a shortage of workers ranging from truck drivers to teachers.

Cindy Sanford, customer service office manager for Job Service North Dakota in Williston, told The Magazine, “We’re still catching up. We don’t have enough people [with skills in specific areas].” For example, she said, there is currently a shortage of diesel technicians, a field in which entry-level jobs can pay up to $25 per hour with the addition of weekly overtime.

Sanford also told The Magazine that last week, two representatives from the oil and gas industry came into the Williston Job office saying they were in need of 10 truck drivers. She added that some people have come back to the office with the news that they will be going back to work for particular companies beginning this December.

In the days before the shale boom, Williston had a footprint of only seven square miles. Today, that area has grown to 23 square miles. The rapid expansion brought with it the need to update the area’s infrastructure such as roads, water treatment, utilities and waste disposal. Williston Public Works Director David Tuan said, “We’re very busy. We’re playing catch up, that’s what it is. The city can’t build fast enough.”

While the rest of the world looks to the Bakken for proof of a bust, Tuan said, “The rest of us are as busy as we ever have been.”

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