Josh Kramer

October is Co-op Month, which provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the cooperative model. It’s a trusted, proven way of doing business. It’s a tool for building resilient and inclusive communities. And it’s a story worth writing about, again and again.

In fact, amplifying the cooperative story has long been the charge of North Dakota Living. It’s been that way in every monthly issue for 70 years. We are proud to be the leading publication that connects our statewide cooperative network from east to west, north to south, and all places in-between.

Our base of members and employees becomes supporters of the cooperative cause. They understand our purpose and the “why” behind the work we do.

Recently, I talked about the benefits of the cooperative network at an annual conference we host for new electric cooperative employees and directors from across the state. As cooperatives, we discussed, our commitment is to people, not profits. Members are at the top of our organizational chart. As employees, we earn a paycheck with a purpose.

Meaningful work with a higher purpose is sought by many job seekers today. A 2020 McKinsey & Company survey found 82% of respondents, which were managers and frontline employees at U.S. companies, believed it’s important their employer has a purpose.

Electric cooperatives certainly check that box. Our purpose is to improve the quality of life of our members by providing a critical service. Electric cooperatives are committed to their employees, too. Co-ops invest in and develop a well-trained workforce.

Our workforce is in a state of transition. Over the next five years, it is estimated more than 15,000 people will be hired at more than 900 electric cooperatives in 47 states. In North Dakota alone, nearly 2,500 full-time electric cooperative jobs exist. And, there are more than 30 types of career opportunities at electric cooperatives.

Opportunities to work with your hands in a skilled trade on the front lines of meeting our nation’s energy needs. Opportunities to design and monitor transmission systems that deliver power local communities depend on. Opportunities to keep IT networks running smoothly and maintain critical cybersecurity. Opportunities to tell the cooperative story, to communicate with and engage member-owners and community leaders.

If you’re considering a new career, talk to a co-op employee. Ask questions. Learn about working for electric cooperatives.

Co-op jobs are community focused, in a dynamic and exciting industry, and offer competitive wages and benefits. And co-ops are hiring everywhere – locally, across the state and country, and in rural communities, booming cities and suburbs. All these jobs play a critical role and will help shape our energy future.

This Co-op Month, we salute cooperative employees everywhere, who put members first.

Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of NDAREC. Contact him at