Focus is on Careers in Jamestown

Focus is on Careers in Jamestown Main Photo

23 Nov 2021


The James Valley Career and Technology Center (JVCTC) is a consistent staple of workforce development in North Dakota’s greater James Valley area. JVCTC is seeking funding to embark on a $1.5 million expansion at its current location, with new spaces and equipment designed to meet the employment needs of the community. The organization seeks for the majority of the funding to come from the Federal Coronavirus Career and Technical Education Capital Projects Grant program.

“We want our youth to advocate for their postsecondary plans, whether that is choosing to join the workforce or continuing their education,” said Adam Gehlhar, Jamestown High School principal and JVCTC director. “The project will create more space, renovate existing space and purchase equipment to meet industry standards in various program areas.”

The overall proposed budget for the project is $1,577,400. JVCTC’s application for the federal grant was $788,700, with several local organizations offering to match that amount. The majority of those matching funds would be $500,000 from Jamestown Public Schools and $131,500 from Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corporation.

Just walking distance from Jamestown High School, JVCTC offers a broad range of programs, with health careers, agriculture and aviation as just a few. The programs are developed as a means to meet the demands of both the local business and student communities. JVCTC consistently reviews its offerings through a Local Comprehensive Needs Assessment every two years by an advisory board of area business and educational resources. The most recent assessment highlighted the need for upgrades in several areas. 

Building Trades

One significant piece of the expansion would be a new 7,000 square-foot building, half of which would add space for Building Trades. Students in this discipline learn the skills required for the construction of homes, cabins, sheds and more. The new structure would be enclosed and have adequate lighting and environmental controls to allow students to build and practice their skills in a safe environment year-round. Currently, a significant portion of programming occurs outdoors, limited by the harsh local winters with bitterly cold temperatures and limited sun exposure.

“Right now, when they can be outside, they are working when there is barely enough light,” said Gehlhar. “It will be nice to not have to worry about students up on ladders in snow or ice.”

Health Careers

The other half of the new structure would be dedicated to expanding the Health Careers program. The area would include an ambulance bay, training areas, classroom space, sleeping quarters, restroom facilities, kitchen, and utility area. In addition, it would include an EMS substation for local EMS services, offering coverage for the area surrounding the northeast section of Jamestown. The plan is for Ringdahl Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Emergency Training Associates to lease space for their operations while offering secondary, postsecondary and workforce training there. 

“The need for registered nurses and certified nursing assistants is growing regionally, so our programs can help our kids learn and get excited about those careers,” said Gehlhar. “Students will receive authentic work-based learning by Ringdahl EMS and Emergency Training Associates.”


The Jamestown area has recently seen increased agribusiness employment opportunities, due to a new ADM soybean processing plant and a growing Farm to Table market. The project would include a new greenhouse and commercial kitchen to address that opportunity. The current greenhouse can accommodate a limited number of students, so a larger 24-foot by 48-foot facility would be built with a concrete floor and raised ADA-compliant plant beds. Vegetables grown by students would be used in the kitchen as part of the agriculture, family and consumer science and transition program educational learning. JVCTC envisions expanding its culinary arts coursework to involve meal preparation for the local community and working with local chefs on student instruction. 


The last major project addition would be in the Aviation program, new to JVCTC in the past year. The project would include full-motion aviation simulators and drone equipment to expand its program, currently delivered in conjunction with the University of Jamestown.

“Students and community members could gain or maintain their licensure, developing their skills in our airspace,” said Gehlhar

Future plans

The Needs Assessment identified several areas that could require additional future investment by JVCTC, such as renewable energy programming due to the anticipated growth expected in the area. Opportunities for area youth provides additional community benefits, said Gehlhar.

“We want to offer our youth the opportunity to grow and gain valuable experience for their future,” he said. “From a workforce perspective, we want them to envision that future with themselves as part of this community.” 

To learn more about JVCTC, contact the JSDC here.