The grant, which is going to the North Dakota State College of Science Foundation in Wahpeton to build the academy, will be pooled with millions of private and public sector dollars to make the project happen.
When completed, the academy is expected to create 109 jobs and help provide area employers with needed workers.
It would also serve area schools with educational training.
“Building the new Career Workforce Academy in Fargo will expand access to career and technical training for students in the region, providing them with the opportunity to develop in-demand skills and earn a head start on their careers,” said U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.
“Additionally, this effort will further assist with the economic recovery from COVID-19 across the region by helping businesses attract and retain skilled employees. North Dakota depends on trained, motivated, hard-working individuals to support our economy, and we appreciate EDA investing these CARES Act funds into our state,” Hoeven added.
Fellow U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., agreed.
“By investing in North Dakota’s education system, these CARES Act funds will help create more economic opportunities in the state, both now and in the future,” Cramer said.
“Building a Career Workforce Academy in Fargo will strengthen and broaden the potential of our state’s workers,” Cramer added.
Planning efforts for the proposed career academy are being led by the NDSCS Foundation, which will ultimately own the project.
The total estimated cost of the career academy is expected to reach about $30 million, with about about $2.3 million of the total going toward land acquisition.
The project is a collaboration that includes participation by the school districts of Fargo, West Fargo, Northern Cass, Central Cass and NDSCS.
It would offer educational opportunities to students from kindergarten to an associate degree.
Organizers are hoping to raise about $15 million from public funding and about $15 million in private donations.
About $11.5 million in private dollars has already been pledged.
Plans call for the academy to be built on land the city of Fargo is annexing in the area of 64th Avenue South, near where the planned Fargo Sports Complex is to be built.
Dr. John Richman, president of NDSCS, said the $1.5 million federal grant announced Thursday will enable NDSCS and its K-12 partners to work together to make the academy a reality in Fargo.
“This proven model will provide opportunities for learners of all ages by enhancing career awareness, allowing for career exploration and creating seamless career pathways. This is a win-win for our students and our region’s economy,” Richman added.