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Two MWEC Lineworkers Complete
Apprenticeship Program

Seventeen lineworkers have earned journeyman status, following completion of a robust apprenticeship program of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC). Graduates were recognized during a Jan. 11 awards ceremony at the NDAREC Apprenticeship, Training and Safety Conference.

“On behalf of NDAREC, I’d like to congratulate this year’s graduates,” says NDAREC Executive Vice President and General Manager Josh Kramer. “The apprenticeship program is a critical pipeline for developing lineworkers in the technical and professional aspects of the job. Many graduates will work the remainder of their careers in the electric cooperative system. The paid on-the-job training and education apprentices receive is a fundamental aspect of our workforce, which helps build generational greatness in our industry.”

The following lineworkers graduated from the apprenticeship program in 2023:

  • Kaden Jaeger, Central Power Electric Cooperative
  • Cory Iverson, Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative
  • Samual Schmidt, Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative
  • Conner Moe, McLean Electric Cooperative
  • Leopold Halko, McKenzie Electric Cooperative
  • Alex Helgeson, McKenzie Electric Cooperative
  • Paul Gapp, McKenzie Electric Cooperative
  • James Williams, McKenzie Electric Cooperative
  • Ryan Zastoupil, McKenzie Electric Cooperative
  • Korbin Knutson, Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative
  • Kaine Tonniges, Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative
  • Max Stromsodt, Nodak Electric Cooperative
  • Talon Thompson, North Central Electric Cooperative
  • Jorden Omlie, Northern Plains Electric Cooperative
  • James Rosencrans, Northern Plains Electric Cooperative
  • Bradly Schmitt, Slope Electric Cooperative
  • Ethan Kuntz, 3C Construction

Alex Helgeson, McKenzie Electric Cooperative, received this year's Outstanding Apprentice Award, which is sponsored by the North Dakota Managers Association. Helgeson was the highest-ranking apprentice in both related studies and on-the-job performance. His co-workers describe him as smart and dependable.

“I never had to worry about Helgeson’s work,” McKenzie Electric Cooperative Line Manager Bill Hanson says. “He worked hard, didn’t complain and learned fast. He did things the right way, and he didn’t take chances.”

Over the past 65 years, more than 700 people have completed NDAREC’s apprenticeship program. To graduate, apprentices must complete 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and more than 400 hours of study.

NDAREC is the statewide trade association for 17 electric distribution cooperatives and five generation and transmission cooperatives operating in North Dakota. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to more than 250,000 North Dakotans. NDAREC services include legislative advocacy, line worker safety training and professional development services, cooperative business development, and communication services including publication of the North Dakota Living magazine.

* Presenting the journeyman lineworker certificates are safety Instructors Jeff Tweten and Mike Koenig, NDAREC
**Article and photos courtesy of NDAREC