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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Industry needs wind technicians, training standards

From a story by John Krerowicz in the Kenosha News:

The need for wind energy technician training is not a lot of hot air, said those involved in a conference to be held here on the topic.

The summit is expected to draw 50 participants from the industry and technical colleges on Jan. 6-7 at Snap-on’s Innovation Works. The renovated building, on the company’s headquarters site, 2801 80th St., was the production factory until it closed in 2004.

Representatives from Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Wis., Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater, Texas, and Iowa Lakes Community College are expected to attend.

One goal of the gathering is to designate representatives to be liaisons with lawmakers in Madison and Washington, D.C., where the new administration is expected to be more receptive to clean energy. The liaisons would promote appropriate policies and encourage funding for training and related issues.

The group also wants to develop a standard training program that technical schools can adopt and quickly implement to meet the anticipated need for technicians, said Fred Brookhouse, Snap-on’s business and education partnership manager and business development manager over education.

There appears to be no formal study of the number of jobs that the young industry would create. The Focus for Energy Web site currently lists 21 installers, including some in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illionois, with a Milwaukee firm the closest to Kenosha.

But Brookhouse said the need for technicians to install and service wind energy technology will be evident once the country accepts that our major energy supplies are finite.

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