“This new program promises to help build a well-trained, highly skilled workforce, which is critical to wind energy development in Colorado and elsewhere in the U.S.”
“A record number of U.S. wind farms are driving the demand for wind turbine technicians and new jobs are expected in our state as a result of Colorado’s renewable energy usage benchmark,” said Mike Couling, Redstone College campus president. “Based on Redstone’s experience and ability to train highly skilled technicians, we look forward to the opportunities awaiting graduates from this leading-edge program.”
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), wind power is one of the fastest growing energy sources in the country, expanding the need for wind turbine training to prepare new technicians to install, operate and maintain wind turbines.
Also, based on the current administration’s initiative to generate 20 percent of the nation’s electricity from wind energy by 2030, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) predicts 315,000MW of new wind capacity will be installed.
According to AWEA’s calculations, this will result in a need for approximately 30,000 new wind technicians to support the 185,000 wind turbines forecasted to be in operation. If this projection is realized, the wind farm industry as a whole would support 500,000 jobs across a variety of wind technology fields.
Through this new program, Redstone will prepare hundreds of students each year to capture this opportunity with its robust 15-month curriculum focusing on hands-on learning with test equipment and troubleshooting for the processes of installation, testing and repair of wind turbines. Safety training is also a critical component of the program and students will receive training in first aid, fire suppression, climb safety, and current OSHA safety standards.
The most common entry-level wind technology positions include wind turbine machinists, energy specialists, field technicians and power plant technicians. “Based on the industry need and our program elements, we believe the most common hiring opportunities for our graduates will come from manufacturers, wind farm owners and utility companies,” said Couling.
“Redstone College students consistently go on to do great work in their field of study. In fact, 80 percent of our graduates get a job in their career field and we are confident that with the need we are seeing in the wind industry, our employment rate can only get better.”
Redstone is one of a small group of colleges using an actual wind turbine, which will be converted to a ground-floor wind lab. The school also presented its program to Wind Energy companies such as Vestas, Suzlon, and Renewable Energy Systems in an effort to build strong partnerships with these and other companies to become a major pipeline for their employment needs.
Representatives from Vestas also attended the school’s celebration as they see the new program as a promising opportunity to expand the industry.
“Vestas is extremely pleased to be associated with Redstone College’s new wind energy technology program,” said Doug Macdonald, Senior Vice President of Government Relations for Vestas American-Wind Technology Inc. “This new program promises to help build a well-trained, highly skilled workforce, which is critical to wind energy development in Colorado and elsewhere in the U.S.”
A record number of U.S. wind farms are driving the demand for wind turbine technicians. In fact, according to The Global Wind Energy Council, the U.S. is ranked number one (ahead of China and Germany) as having the largest amount of wind power capacity currently installed at 35 gigawatts, 36 percent of the world’s total.