Monday, July 28, 2008

Green energy options may provide niche for Maine's community colleges

The Associated Press ran a story by Blake Nicholson on how community colleges are recognizing the growing demand for wind techs, and other jobs tied to wind power. The article, which was picked up by the Lewiston Sun Journal highlights the rapid growth of wind turbines, with 10 new towers popping up every day.

In the article, Christine Real de Azua, a spokeswoman for the American Wind Energy Association is quoted as saying that “the demand (for wind technicians) is such that some (colleges) have been trying to keep companies away from the program because they want everybody to graduate first.” She goes on to add that “In some cases, students are being picked up after only a couple of months.”

Related to this article, there is a demand experienced by CAP agencies in Maine for certified energy auditors, to provide audits to home owners, not to mention an additional need for building envelope technicians to provide weatherization services for homes that are experiencing energy loss.

Dwaine Higgins, who graduated from a wind tech program at Iowa Lakes Community College is enthusiastic about his options.

"The job outlook in the wind industry is virtually unlimited," he said.

In Central/Western Maine, we are in the early stages of exploring this avenue to determine how best to address this perceived need centered around energy issues. More information will be posted here, as it becomes available.

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