The AWEA working group is tasked with developing introductory workforce training programs and standardized curriculum guidelines for certificates and two-year degree programs, as well as identifying and certifying technical and community colleges that offer training programs in wind energy.
Vrtol, the lead wind technology instructor at Highland since fall 2009, was selected due to his extensive experience within the fields of wind energy and wind energy education. He has been involved in the wind turbines industry for the past 7 years, with experience as a technician and development manager for several wind farm sites in northwest Illinois. He was instrumental in the effort to develop Highland’s wind turbine technician associates degree, the first in the state of Illinois.
“We are excited about Dave’s new position,” said Scott Anderson, HCC’s dean of business and technology. “He has worked diligently to build relationships in the field of wind energy and this appointment is proof of the success of those efforts.”
Commenting on Vrtol’s appointment, HCC President Dr. Joe Kanosky said, “This is further evidence that Dave’s work and Highland’s wind power technology program are getting nation-wide attention for providing leadership in wind energy education.” In July 2010, Highland, in partnership with Northern Illinois University, was awarded a 3-year, $898,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop mobile training modules to be distributed to technical and community colleges throughout the nation.
Highland Community College offers more than 60 programs of applied and transfer degrees, community education and business training. In addition to comprehensive academic programming, Highland provides theatre, art and music opportunities for the community. Highland Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association’s Academic Quality Improvement Program. Located in Freeport and Elizabeth, Highland is conveniently positioned in the tri-state region with access to several major metropolitan areas.