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Wadena Foundation aids in line worker training project

The Wadena Area College Foundation is in the midst of fundraising for a project that will provide unique training opportunities for students in the electrical line worker program at M State - Wadena.

Two area electric cooperatives, Itasca-Mantrap in Park Rapids and Todd-Wadena in Wadena, have donated an electric substation to the nationally recognized line worker program. Area electric utility companies have donated more than $16,250 toward the cost of dissembling the substation, transporting it to Wadena and installing it on a concrete pad for use in the program.

Foundation Vice Chair Dan Carlisle estimated the foundation will need to raise about $10,000 more to complete the project. The donation of the substation, he said, "will help our program remain at the forefront of electrical line worker training."

Monty Johnson, M State's dean of students on the Wadena campus, said the line worker program is already highly regarded throughout the Midwest, and the substation will allow Wadena to provide training that is not available in the state's other two line worker programs. Wadena enrolls 65 students in the one-year diploma and two-year Associate in Applied Science degree programs for line workers.

"I am unaware of any other training facility that will have a functioning substation to use in its training curriculum," Carlisle said. "This will be useful not only to enrolled students, but also to attendees at the annual hot-line school that is hosted at the Wadena campus. Our entire school will be stronger and more competitive as a result of this addition."

Steve Johnson, an instructor in the line worker program, said a substation is comprised of the framework and equipment necessary to switch generated high-voltage power to voltages that are transmitted to customers. Campus officials hope to have the substation on campus this year.

Anyone interested in supporting the work of the Wadena Area College Foundation can contact Director Nikki Hirschey at (218) 631-7931 or