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NDAREC celebrates completion of Lineworker Training Center, renovated headquarters building

The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) will unveil the new, 26,337-square-foot Lineworker Training Center and NDAREC headquarters facility at a grand reopening event on Friday, Oct. 14, at NDAREC's Mandan campus. 

“The cooperative difference will be on full display,” says Josh Kramer, NDAREC general manager and executive vice president. “The new Lineworker Training Center stands as a testament of the electric cooperative commitment to our current and future workforce, to meeting the needs of our industry and, above all, powering the lives of our members and the communities we serve.”

The newly constructed 26,337-square-foot Lineworker Training Center will provide enhanced, year-round training for students of Bismarck State College’s (BSC) lineworker program and the electric cooperative workforce. The facility boasts an 18,000-square-foot indoor training arena and 50-foot walls with 44-foot ceiling clearance, providing opportunities for lineworkers and students to practice skills required for the construction and maintenance of overhead and underground electrical infrastructure. Two classrooms for instruction and a simulator room for Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training are also included in the facility. Owned by NDAREC and its members, the training center is leased by BSC to offer the lineworker program. Since 1970, this public-private partnership has trained more than 1,700 skilled apprentice lineworkers. 

NDAREC’s member-cooperatives provided critical support for the training center, and a $4 million grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) covered about 70% of the total project costs. 

“North Dakota’s electric cooperatives have doubled down on their commitment to improving the quality of life of the people they serve by reinvesting in this critical workforce,” Kramer says.

The renovated NDAREC headquarters facility was designed to meet the future needs of North Dakota’s electric cooperatives. A major highlight of the building is the Cooperative Center, which offers flexible education, training and meeting spaces with improved technology. Adorned with floor-to-ceiling artwork, video monitors and displays, the Cooperative Center tells the story of North Dakota’s electric cooperatives and shares the cooperative principles and values that guide their work. Two electric vehicle charging stations have also been installed for future use. 

“For more than 80 years, North Dakota’s electric cooperatives have evolved to meet the needs of their members. These investments show that, as cooperatives, we are focused on the future and ready to meet the challenges ahead for our industry,” Kramer says. “And, as we celebrate National Co-op Month in October, cooperative principle No. 6 — cooperation among cooperatives — is a guiding reminder that, together, we can accomplish great things. The cooperative spirit is alive and well.”

The grand reopening event will be held Friday, Oct. 14, at NDAREC’s Mandan campus, 3201 Nygren Dr. N.W., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with 10:30 a.m. remarks from NDAREC and invited guests. Tours of the Lineworker Training Center and the NDAREC headquarters will be offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with demonstrations by BSC lineworker students.  

NDAREC is the statewide trade association for 16 electric distribution cooperatives and five generation and transmission cooperatives operating in North Dakota. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to more than 250,000 North Dakotans across 64,000 miles of distribution line. NDAREC services include legislative advocacy, line worker safety training and professional development services, cooperative business development, and communication services including publication of the North Dakota Living magazine.