news April 10, 2023

North Dakota Cooperatives Benefit from CFC-Supported Project

The impact of a recently completed construction project in North Dakota will be felt for generations to come, according to the statewide manager. Unveiled at a grand reopening last fall, the new Lineworker Training Center and North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) headquarters facility is a testament to the cooperative difference and the strategic value of partnering with CFC, which helped fund the construction.

“CFC was well-versed in the complexities of constructing a project, especially of this magnitude, in North Dakota,” NDAREC Executive Vice President and General Manager Josh Kramer said. “CFC understands who we are and who our members are, and that proved invaluable as we moved through the process.”

Working with CFC “was exceptional,” Kramer added. “It’s difficult to finance building projects in rural areas. Securing an appraisal that covers the costs of construction is a major hurdle for many rural projects, including ours. CFC was willing to work with us on that.”

Project Completed Under Budget Despite Supply Chain Challenges

With a combination of grants, member support and CFC funding, the headquarters and training center construction projects came in under budget despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and supply chain disruptions. NDAREC was able to keep costs down through value engineering and close monitoring of the projects during the construction phase, resulting in significant savings and ensuring prudent use of resources.

The renovated NDAREC headquarters facility offers flexible education, training and meeting spaces with improved technology. The Cooperative Center provides community space where key groups and leaders can gather. Since becoming operational, the Cooperative Center has hosted North Dakota’s congressional delegation, state and federal government officials, trade associations, charities and NDAREC members. 

Lineworker Training Center Provides Year-Round Training Opportunities

The newly constructed Lineworker Training Center provides year-round training for students in Bismarck State College’s (BSC) lineworker program and the electric cooperative workforce. The facility affords opportunities for lineworkers and students to practice skills required for the construction and maintenance of overhead and underground electrical infrastructure. NDAREC and BSC celebrated the 50th anniversary of its public-private partnership in 2021, which has resulted in more than 1,700 lineworkers graduating from the training program, using NDAREC’s facilities. The new training center includes classrooms, a commercial driver’s license simulator room and indoor training arena. The program ensures the students are working with the same type of equipment and lineworker tools in the classroom they will find in the field. 

“By giving the green light to both the NDAREC headquarters renovation and the construction of the new Lineworker Training Center, our board doubled down on their commitment to our workforce and the future of our industry,” Kramer said.

The impact of these projects will be felt in the community for generations, according to Kramer. “The high-quality work and training environments now offered will sustain our organization, our workforce, our members and our industry,” he said.

“The Lineworker Training Center and new NDAREC headquarters are now part of our cooperative story,” Kramer added. “None of this would have been possible without committed employees, outstanding support from our board and the membership, and the help of great partners, like CFC.”