Hess Donation Benefits ND Education Project

From KYFRTV.com

One of North Dakota`s biggest energy companies, the Hess Corporation, is donating a lot of money to help strengthen K through 12 education in the state. A check was presented at a ceremony at the capitol this morning.

The Hess Corporation is forking over $25 million for a new statewide education project, called Succeed 20/20, to help North Dakota middle and high school students become better prepared for college and careers.

"We`re not trying to fix something that`s broken here. We`re actually trying to take something that`s already very good and make it exceptional," said Chuck Van Allen, of the Hess Corporation.

The Hess Corporation and the governor spent more than a year developing the project together.

"The age at which we need to begin to talk to students about their future is much younger than we used to think," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

Specific goals of the project aim to increase ACT scores, decrease developmental or remedial education and increase the number of students who complete high school and college programs on time.

"In the State of North Dakota, we always strive to be better," said state Rep. Jerry Kelsh, D-Fullerton.

Noticeably absent from the ceremony, however, were Democratic lawmakers, who say they like the idea, but Kelsh said, "When they leave the Department of Public Instruction, superintendent of Public Instruction out of the discussions, and it`s not administered by, necessarily, by professionals, it probably makes it a little more different for us to understand why, being a Democrat, we`re not included in some sort of the discussions that led up to this."

Regional Education Associations will have the lead responsibility for bringing partners together to design collaborative solutions. A major goal is to bring rural school districts together so students can have more access to a better future.

John Hess, the Chairman and CEO of the Hess Corporation, said in a statement that this investment in building North Dakota`s workforce of the future is part of Hess` commitment to make a positive impact on the communities where Hess does business.