Very soon people passing by will notice a change on the northwest side of the Granite Falls Campus of Minnesota West Community and Technical College as power line poles and bucket trucks will soon dot the campus grounds. Minnesota West is excited to announce the expansion of its popular powerline program. A staple on the Jackson campus, the program will also now be offered on the Granite Falls Campus beginning in July of 2019.

“It’s considered to be one of the growing fields of the energy industry,” said Bruce Peterson, the Dean of Minnesota Energy and Industry. It is because of industry demand throughout the region that the decision was made to expand the program to the Granite Falls campus. Peterson went on to explain that demand, “stems mainly from pending retirements and outdated infrastructure, some of which is over 50 years old.” Adding, “This program could be a big help to the area.” The powerline program is a one year program and captures upon the “big three” when researching careers. The big three refers to Growth, Pay, and Demand. Students often have multiple job offers or even secure a job prior to their graduation date.

This summer students will begin learning about electrical rigging and safety, as well as pole climbing and equipment operations. The program will continue into the fall, and will reach completion the following spring. The school is expected to bring in one of the veteran instructors, Brian Binnebose, from the Jackson campus to teach this program. Brian has twenty years experience as a lineman, six years experience as a Minnesota State Safety Instructor for Rural Electric Coops and has spent the last ten years at Minnesota West as an instructor.

The powerline technician major is designed to train students to become apprentices in powerline construction and maintenance. Some of the materials covered in the course will include electrical circuit fundamentals, electric distribution of power lines, generation, transmission and distribution and transformer banking. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics reports a faster than average, fourteen percent, growth rate in this field, an estimated 16,800 new jobs created by 2026, and an annual mean wage (using Minnesota as an example along with different geographic locations) of $60,000 to $106,300.

If anyone is interested in registering for the Powerline program contact the Minnesota West Communications Center: 800-658-2330 or email The Granite Falls Campus Enrollment Specialist: nicole.zempel@mnwest.edu. Early registration begins on Thursday, March 28, 2019.