A workforce shortage could be moving into North Dakota's utility companies over the next decade. In the middle of cooperative month, we now have a 'Careers in Energy Week.' Governor Jack Dalrymple created the week's theme to promote future workforce needs. Jennifer Kleen has more on the anticipated retirement exit from utility companies. (Jennifer Kleen, KX News) Career opportunities outside the office are on the rise. (Patrick Hurt, Lead Wind Technician) "I never thought I would see myself working on wind turbines." (Kleen) Prairie Winds park is among the electric cooperatives in the state anticipating new career opportunities. (Hurt) "It's something different every day." (Kleen) Utility companies will be facing something different in the next decade. (Curt Pearson, Basin Electric Public Relations) "We are on the middle to the later stages of a boom of people retiring." (Kleen) Basin Electric Power Cooperative, which operates Prairie Winds park, has nearly 24-hundred employees. Many have worked here for years, and many are approaching retirement at the same time. (Pearson) "And that's a natural thing. We were building our power plant in the late 70s, early 80s and we hired a lot of people. Those people have now put in 30 some years, they're careers are coming to an end." (Hurt) "They take a lot of skill and knowledge with them and it's nice to be able to work with those people before they leave because you can learn a lot from them." (Pearson) "That's a tremendous opportunity for new people coming into our industry." (Kleen) New people from many skilled backgrounds. (Pearson) "Accountants and technicians, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, civil engineers, power plant techs." (Kleen) In an industry that is always changing. (Hurt) "Technology keeps advancing." (Kleen) In a state where power plants, and wind powered plants, are plentiful. (Mark Loats, Prairie Winds Park Supervisor) "There's wind farms being built all over the state." (Hurt) "On the wind turbines, it more well rounded, you have to be skilled in a little bit of everything." (Loats) "The best part about North Dakota is that it's more sustained wind." (Kleen) Sustainable career opportunities, (Hurt) "You get one heck of a view when you're on top. That's for sure." (Kleen) ...where the view is arguably better than the corner office. In Minot, Jennifer Kleen, KX News. Prairie Winds has 82 wind turbines just south of Minot. For career opportunities visit BasinElectric.com.
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