MANDAN, N.D.­­ • Bismarck State College and the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives said this week they will unveil plans for a new Lineworker Training Center in Mandan.

The joint “Investing in Our Future” event is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, May 6.

NDAREC, along with North Dakota’s electric cooperatives, is upgrading the current BSC Lineworker training facility on NDAREC’s grounds.

The new, 26,294-square-foot, four-seasons Lineworker Training Center will be a one-of-a-kind, innovative facility providing enhanced, year-round training for the electric industry workforce, according to the school.

NDAREC has secured a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration for the project, which will be matched by $1 million in local investment from North Dakota’s electric cooperatives.

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“Fifty years ago, North Dakota’s electric cooperatives answered the call to meet the needs of a growing electric industry by partnering with BSC to develop a premier lineworker training program,” Josh Kramer, NDAREC executive vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “Now is the time to once again invest in the future of this critical trade.”

The BSC Lineworker program is the only one of its kind in North Dakota.

Lineworker students receive intense, hands-on instruction in all facets of powerline construction, equipment operation and maintenance. Study includes classroom instruction, indoor and outdoor lab work, and courses to prepare students for North Dakota’s commercial driver’s license exam.

According to the school, graduates of the BSC Lineworker program are workforce-ready and report 90% placement rates, with hourly earnings up to $40.

"Lineworkers keep homes powered and the lights on in our community. They are essential workers. It’s important that we invest in training this crucial workforce, and when industry partners such as NDAREC come alongside BSC like this, we can provide the highest quality hands-on, experiential, workforce training,” said BSC President Doug Jensen. “As a polytechnic institution, this is a top priority for BSC.”

THE EVENT

The joint event on Thursday, held at the NDAREC/NISC campus at 3201 Nygren Dr. N.W. in Mandan, will include remarks from BSC, NDAREC and the offices of Gov. Doug Burgum and North Dakota’s congressional delegation, with lineworker training demonstrations by current BSC students.

In case of inclement weather, the event will be held at the National Energy Center of Excellence, 1200 Schafer St., Bismarck. All BSC campus events follow recommended CDC safety guidelines, including mandatory face masks and social distancing.