Sparking cooperative career journeys - Great River Energy

Sparking cooperative career journeys

Great River Energy Cooperative Careers Camp provides students an inside look at energy careers

Students attending the Cooperative Careers Camp tour the Elk River Peaking Plant guided by Josh Honer, peaking plant operator technician, and learned about the equipment used to generate electricity.

Fifty high school students got a taste of the many career paths available with electric cooperatives at a recent event hosted by Great River Energy.

The first-ever Cooperative Careers Camp was held last month at Great River Energy’s Elk River campus. The goal of the camp was to provide attendees with a firsthand view of Great River Energy’s field technician and operations careers, many of which utilize skills that can be learned at trade schools and don’t require a four-year college degree.

The students rotated between stations throughout the day and learned about several different energy careers. They toured the Elk River substation and peaking plant; rode in a bucket truck; performed hands-on metering and apparatus activities; and learned about telecommunication, system operations and high-voltage, direct-current jobs.

Great River Energy’s Cullen Schmitt, telecommunications technician/electrician foreperson, talks to students about how a substation works during one of six stations at the Cooperative Careers Camp.

“Cultivating our future workforce is critical as we continue to see retirements throughout the transmission division,” said Melissa Phillips, manager of field services at Great River Energy. “We know it’s important to reach out to young people when they are just beginning to contemplate what their career journey might be and show them what a career at an electric co-op could look like for them.”

The camp sessions were led by Great River Energy employees who shared the kind of work they do every day.

“It felt like a positive thing for these young people,” said Doug Goodale, peaking plant operator at Great River Energy who hosted students at the camp. “Most of them seemed to be engaged and interested in what we do here.”

Tingda Lu was glad that the camp was available for his son to attend.

“I wanted to extend my heartfelt thanks to Great River Energy for organizing the incredible one-day camp focused on promoting students’ interest in energy careers,” he said. “The event was a resounding success, and Great River Energy employees made the camp an unforgettable experience for all the participants.”

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