Wind Power Jobs? You betcha!

Timlynn Babitsky | Benefits & Support,New Jobs,Side Benefits,Thinking Forward | Friday, November 7th, 2008

by Timlynn Babitsky
Demand is growing nationwide for wind turbine technicians, technologists, engineers, and wind energy educators. How is this pressuring universities, colleges, community colleges and technical schools to prepare their students for this rising job skills demand? A small sample of the educational scramble to meet the demands of this new “industrial revolution” points to an area of exploding job growth. Are you ready?

Community colleges are mandated to prepare their students for real jobs in their local regions. As you might expect then, the early bird programs in wind technology related education are sprouting up at the community college level. For example:

Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari New Mexico offers Certificate and Degree programs in Wind Energy Technology. Providing instruction in wind turbine technology, turbine maintenance, tower safety, and wind economics. Students in both their one and two year programs “will be prepared for rewarding and profitable careers in this growing field.”

Oklahoma State University’s Oklahoma City campus will offer the state’s first wind turbine technology degree program starting January ’09. Their 2-year associates’ degree will focus on training technicians for jobs in both utility-scale and facilities-scale environments. The program will include classes in electrical, mechanical and hydraulic malfunctions, scheduled maintenance and general service. Training could also include securing site leases, wiring the turbine network to the power grid and designing a wind farm. The wind technician degree program was created because the wind industry is becoming an increasingly important factor in Oklahoma’s economy.

Iowa Lakes Community CollegeAlliant Energy is collaborating with Iowa Lakes Community College (ILCC) to develop the curriculum for their Wind Energy and Turbine Technology Program, the first in the state of Iowa. The one year diploma program prepares students for entry-level positions in the wind industry, focusing on construction, maintenance, and operation of wind turbines. The two-year Associate in Applied Science degree prepares students to install, maintain and service modern wind turbines. Graduates will qualify for entry-level positions and also have the skills and education background to become a wind turbine operator and potentially a supervisor. Both programs prepare students to support Iowa’s growing wind infrastructure as companies rush to build renewable energy generation.

Lake Shore Technical College, on Lake Michigan in Wisconsin is offering a two-year Associates Applied Science Degree program in Wind Energy Technology. The program prepares students for increasing job opportunities in both the US and Canada wind energy industry. Upon completion of the program students will be ready to function as a: Wind Turbine Technician/Mechanic/Tower Climber; Installation Technician; Operation and Maintenance Technician; and Wind Farm Maintenance Manager.

Oregon Institute of Technology announced in March, 2008 the development of the country’s first four-year undergraduate degree program in renewable-energy systems. Although this program includes other renewable energy systems besides wind, the trend is obvious. Renewable energy – wind, solar, geothermal, etc., – are leading the way to economic recovery for the US.

Job search web site openings include wind turbine engineers, turbine technologists and wind technicians. And, the list of wind-related job types and job skills descriptions is definitely growing daily.

If you’ve just been laid off, or downsized or whatever other name losing your job is called these days…. go directly to your local community college and start preparing for a new job in wind technology or any other renewable energy-related field.

The more you know about wind energy technology, the more you will be prepared to either help promote a community with project or bring home the bacon and put it on the family table.

The old jobs are probably not coming back.

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