Nearly 60 high school students representing a dozen electric cooperatives from South Dakota and Minnesota are in North Dakota this week learning about energy, the power grid, and most importantly, what makes a cooperative a great business model.
South Dakota Rural Electric Association hosts the South Dakota Rural Electric Youth Excursion each year. This year, students spent time at Bismarck State College learning about careers in the energy industry, and at Basin Electric Headquarters, seeing how the cooperative serves its members more than electricity through communications materials and dispatch services. Scroll down to see what the students were doing, through posts from Facebook and Twitter.
Erin Huntimer, Basin Electric project coordinations representative, says students are most interested in careers, and what kind of education and experience is needed. “For example, students learned that one of the traders came from Wall Street, where he traded sugar. Now he trades gas – same process, different commodity,” she says. “Though many of the careers we highlighted at Headquarters require a 4-year degree, I pointed out the need for employees in the trades – electricians, instrument techs, mechanics, lineworkers – all of which require 2-year, or even shorter, degrees or certificates, but result in high-paying, secure careers.”
The students got to ride the Lewis & Clark Riverboat in the Missouri River in the evening, and on July 27, spent a full day touring the North Dakota Energy Trail, making stops at the Antelope Valley Station, Dakota Gasification Company’s Great Plains Synfuels Plant, and The Coteau Properties’ Company’s Freedom Mine, getting a look at wind turbines along the way.
Also, take a look at Basin’s Backyard Garden blog to see why students took a little side trip to check out the vegetables grown at Headquarters: South Dakota and Minnesota students take an excursion to the garden