North Dakota leaders approve emergency request to unlock federal funds for teacher apprenticeships

Photo by: WDAY Radio File (Canva)
Photo by: WDAY Radio File (Canva)

(Bismarck, ND) -- An emergency request to pay for teacher apprenticeships in North Dakota has been approved.

The request, filed by the North Dakota Department of Instruction, was approved by the states Emergency Commission on Thursday unanimously. The approval unlocks over $4-million dollars in federal grants to helps classroom assistants and paraprofessionals to become licensed teachers.

“[The] ND Department of Public Instruction is the only state education agency in the nation to have been awarded these Labor Department funds and intends to use them solely for teacher apprenticeships,” said North Dakota State Superintendent Kirstin Baesler. 

Of the $4.031 million given to the NDDPI, approximately $3.72 million was part of a competitive process given to only seven states across the country. The federal funds will provide tuition assistance, supplies, and on-the-job training for classroom aides to obtain academic credentials. The NDDPI has also received funds from the North Dakota Legislative Session for the teacher apprenticeship program. 

Several state leaders are a part of the North Dakota Emergency Commission; including North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Secretary of State Michael Howe; the state House and Senate’s majority leaders, Rep. Mike Lefor, R-Dickinson, and Sen. David Hogue, R-Minot; and the chairmen of the House and Senate appropriations committees, Rep. Don Vigesaa, R-Cooperstown, and Sen. Brad Bekkedahl, R-Williston.