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Electric companies support program

Thanks to support from electric utilities in the region, a donated electric substation is now providing unique training opportunities for students in the Electrical Line Worker Program at Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Wadena.

Those utilities were recognized for their contributions to the substation's installation and operation Oct. 11 at Wadena's Electrical Line Worker training field, where the substation is located. The fundraising was spearheaded by the Wadena Area College Foundation.

The substation was donated by Itasca-Mantrap Cooperative of Park Rapids. Other area cooperatives contributed a total of nearly $25,000 to transport the substation to Wadena and install it on a concrete pad for use in the program.

The donors recognized Oct. 11 were Beltrami Electric Cooperative, Clearwater-Polk Electrical Cooperative, Cooperative Light & Power Association, Itasca-Mantrap Cooperative, Legacy Power Line, Meeker Cooperative, Minnesota Valley Cooperative Light and Power Association, Otter Tail Power Company, Renville-Sibley Cooperative Power Association, Runestone Electric, Sauk Centre Public Utilities Commission, Stearns Cooperative Electric Association, Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative, Traverse Electric Co-op and Wild Rice Electric.

Monty Johnson, dean of academic and student affairs on the Wadena campus, said he is unaware of any other line worker program in the state that has a functioning substation to use in its training curriculum. In addition to its use by Wadena students, it will also be utilized by utility workers who attend the college's annual hot-line school. Electrical substations are used in the transmission of power to customers.

Wadena enrolls 65 students in its one-year diploma and two-year Associate in Applied Science degree program for line workers. This year, high demand for the program led Wadena to open a one-year line worker program in Baudette, Minn.

As a member of the Minnesota State College and Universities System, M State serves more than 6,500 students in credit courses each term through more than 120 career and liberal arts programs at its four campuses in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena, and online.

By partnering with communities, the college also provides custom training services and other responsive training programs.