Lake Region State College teams with energy company to create wind technician course

Wind technician classes will be taught in the training room at the NESET office building in Tioga, N.D. (submitted photo.)

Lake Region State College has teamed with energy and consulting company NESET to create a Wind Technician Academy in Tioga, North Dakota.

The non-credit course aims to provide training opportunities for oilfield and energy workers who lost their jobs due to the impact of COVID-19 and help them transition to wind energy work. The course mirrors LRSC's on-campus for-credit course. The program is set to begin on Tuesday, May 26, and runs for 14 weeks. There are slots for 16 students, with eight already set to participate.

“We have a unique opportunity to partner with the private sector industry and provide additional training for the skilled employees from the energy industry in western North Dakota to work in renewable energy,” said LRSC President Doug Darling.

Work is underway to install ladders and safety equipment at NESET offices in Tioga, where the classroom and practical training will take place. Wind turbine tower training will take place on LRSC’s 1.6 megawatt wind turbine in Devils Lake. NESET President Kathleen Neset has donated the company’s facilities for the training course.

“In a situation like we are facing right now, time is of the essence,” Neset said. “I am so pleased at the quick work of the team at Lake Region State College to partner with us and bring this from an idea to reality in a matter of weeks.”


An instructor and necessary equipment from LRSC have been relocated to Tioga, in preparation for the course. The equipment will be returned to the college in time for fall classes. Should the course prove popular, NESET could look to hire its own instructor and purchase equipment for follow-up courses, as it begins to move into the wind energy industry.

“This is Lake Region State College Tioga Campus -- is the best way to look at it -- where NESET has donated the facility,” said Joe Griffin, operations manager at NESET.

“The response from Lake Region State College has been nothing short of fantastic," Griffin said.

Unlike the oil and gas industry, which took a large hit due to the combination of COVID-19 and the subsequent low demand for gas, wind energy is proceeding apace. One company, Enel Green Power, is adding 71 turbines to its Aurora field in Tioga.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, the wind energy industry employs 120,000 workers across all 50 states, and the need for technicians is growing.

Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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