Great River Energy promotes careers in energy through career open houses, school career fairs, mock interview sessions and participating in the annual Career & College Conference for Girls, which focuses on helping girls in grades 9 through 12 explore and learn about opportunities within the industry.

To get and keep students interested in our industry, it’s important to show them how they can align energy careers with their interests, skills and values.

Great River Energy participates in a number of industry-related events, including the Minnesota Consortium’s “Careers in Energy Task Force,” which is made up of utility professionals and education institutions from around the state. These non-recruiting opportunities allow us to collaborate with education and electric industry professionals.

Additionally, many employees are instructors or board members within Minnesota and North Dakota colleges and universities. This provides a tighter partnership with these schools and a strategic plan to promote careers in energy.

Girls’ STEM camp visits Great River Energy

Normandale Community College offers a week-long summer STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Camp for middle school-aged girls. Great River Energy was added to the camp schedule in 2019.

Approximately 35 campers visited our Maple Grove campus to learn about renewable energy and STEM careers in the electric industry. Campers toured Great River Energy’s onsite solar and wind facilities, flew a drone and built an electric motor. Additionally, several Great River Energy employees shared how they became interested in technical careers, and detailed their educational and professional experiences.

Other outreach efforts

Great River Energy engineers visited Meadowvale Elementary School in Elk River, Minnesota, to educate students about renewable and non-renewable energy resources and challenge them to design a wind turbine.

In an effort to stay abreast of workforce development trends, Great River Energy representatives attended the Center for Energy Workforce Development Regional Meeting. There they networked and shared best practices, with a focus on military recruiting, hiring and retention, and current regional workforce development issues.

While Great River Energy worked to decommission the Elk River Energy Recover Station, employees considered what items at the power plant could be of use to other organizations. Furniture, appliances and office equipment were cataloged and made available to several nonprofit groups in locations we serve as part of our commitment to local communities.

Recipients of that equipment included the St. Michael-Albertville Schools and Elk River Area School District (ISD 728) in Minnesota. The plant’s backup generator is now installed at a St. Michael Albertville school, saving the district from a significant – and needed – expense. ISD 728 received a variety of appliances and office equipment.

Great River Energy made similar donations to communities in North Dakota after the closure of Stanton Station in 2017. Great River Energy donated a boat ramp, shop equipment and office furniture, among other donations.

Scholarships impact more than 40 students

As part of the Great River Gives program, Great River Energy awards scholarships to help graduating seniors further their education.

Great River Energy has long-standing scholarship programs with Elk River High School and Maple Grove Senior High. In North Dakota, applications are accepted from several schools surrounding our generation facilities. In addition, Great River Energy distributes scholarships to employees’ children through the Great River Energy Memorial Scholarship fund, which has been in effect since early 1990s.