North Dakota's Shale Boom Brings Opportunity for Women

North Dakota’s labor shortage lights a fire under female wages
Women-owned businesses are on the rise in McKenzie County Photograph by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Amanda Kieson has learned not to dread the 2:30 a.m. phone call. The 33-year-old mother of two opened Badlands Occupational Testing Services in 2011 to cash in on the boom in western North Dakota, home to the energy-rich Bakken shale formation. Oil and trucking companies hire her Watford City company to screen job applicants and employees for drugs and alcohol. That means one of her six employees is occasionally summoned in the middle of the night to procure a urine sample from a driver who’s been in an accident. “I love my business, which is weird because, you know, with what we actually have to put up with, collecting pee every day,” she says. “We are busy all the time.”

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