The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced the first-ever recipients of its new Seal of Approval for wind turbine service technician training programs.
The AWEA Seal of Approval program assesses whether educational and training institutions with technician programs are teaching the skills that an entry-level service technician needs, as identified by experts among AWEA's 2,500 company members.
The first three recipients of the Seal of Approval are:
• Texas State Technical College's (Sweetwater, Texas) Associates of Applied Science in Wind Energy & Turbine Technology program.
• Iowa Lakes Community College's (Estherville, Iowa) Associates of Applied Science in Wind Energy & Turbine Technology program, and
• Columbia Gorge Community College's (The Dalles, Ore.) Renewable Energy Technology 9 Month Certificate Program for Wind Turbine Service Technicians
"This recognition from industry peers confirms that TSTC's Wind Energy Technology program is forging the path to properly train wind energy technicians," said Keith Plantier, Program Chair of Wind Energy Technology at TSTC West Texas. "With this seal of approval from AWEA, an industry advocate, our graduates are even more desirable and in-demand, this seal solidifies TSTC as one of the best programs in the country."
TSTC has developed a strong reputation in the industry with many of the larger companies such as GE, Siemens, Vestas, Mitsubishi, etc. Approximately 75% of our graduates are placed within the industry. Currently, there are 140 students in the TSTC Wind Energy program.
The Seal gives educational institutions the chance to gain recognition for quality programs, while supporting their efforts to provide students with the skills they need for a rewarding career. Students, meanwhile, will be able to list on their resumes that they have successfully completed a program awarded AWEA's Seal of Approval. And from the perspective of wind energy companies, the AWEA Seal of Approval Program will help fortify the industry with a pool of qualified technicians to enter the wind power work force.
"We are proud to roll out the AWEA Seal of Approval because the program truly helps build a stronger wind energy industry," said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. "Wind power is about job creation, and when those jobs are created, they need to be filled with a top-notch work force. The AWEA Seal of Approval is representative of both an ever-evolving, maturing industry as well as an association committed to meeting the needs of its members." The AWEA Board of Directors approved the skill set in November 2009.
Texas State Technical College System (www.tstc.edu ) consists of four technical schools: TSTC Harlingen, TSTC Marshall, TSTC Waco, and TSTC West Texas, which has campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater. TSTC colleges rank consistently as top colleges in the state and nation for conferring associate degrees in engineering, precision production, computer information systems degrees, communication and information sciences, and enrollment of Hispanic students. More than 17,000 students attend TSTC each year in credit programs alone, and that number grows to nearly 30,000 when short-term continuing education and corporate training programs are included.