Bakken GROW Program Will Provide Humanitarian Relief & Solid Employment For Ukrainian Refugees
June 7, 2023 | View PDF
The Bakken Global Recruitment of Oilfield Workers (GROW) Program is looking for sponsors for Ukrainian workers, with intentions of welcoming 25 new workers to North Dakota by July 2023. The North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) launched this program in the spring of 2023 as a way to address the oil and gas industry's shortage of workers.
"Due to the war between Russia and Ukraine, many Ukrainian citizens want to flee their country and come to America and work to make money to send back home to their families. Many of these refugees have backgrounds in different areas of work and have many skills," said McKenzie County Economic Development Director Daniel Stenberg, who is the contact person for McKenzie County and NDPC for this program. "Bakken GROW will provide humanitarian relief and good, high-paying jobs to hard working Ukrainians, while also filling jobs that are very much needed in the oil and gas industry."
Over 100,000 Ukranians have entered the United States for work since the war began, as they have either fulfilled their military obligation or have three or more children. Many of these individuals are meeting their visa requirements through the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) Program, which allows for employment, but was formed primarily for humanitarian reasons. Most Ukranians can expect to be in the United States for two years through U4U and the Bakken GROW programs.
"The NDPC will serve as an immigration liaison between its members and recruiting agencies and will begin by utilizing the U4U Program. Refugees will be matched with an NDPC member oil and natural gas company and will be employed right away after arriving in North Dakota," Stenberg explained.
While the NDPC will work to secure employment for these individuals, sponsors are still needed to vouch for vetted refugees. Sponsors must be 18 years or older with an annual income of at least $28,000. They will be responsible for meeting the U4U refugees once they arrive in the United States and transporting them to their initial housing and employment, helping them complete paperwork for a Social Security card and driver's license, making sure their health care services and medical needs are being met, and assisting with access to English as a second language class. A single individual can sponsor up to five Ukranians.