The Wind Turbine Technician Academy at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Kalamazoo, Michigan graduated its fourth class on Dec. 22, 2011. A total of 16 students graduated from the 26-week-long training program.
Cindy Buckley, executive director of Training KVCC’s M-TEC at the Groves campus called the technicians pioneers in an emerging field and said their job prospects are outstanding. “Five of the trainees from this class have graduated early to accept job offers and nine of the remaining trainees are actively interviewing for jobs,” Buckley said. “These credentialed graduates are filling an incredible gap for the wind industry by being able to step out of the Academy and be fully capable technicians.”
The speaker for the ceremony was Rich Vanderveen, president of Mackinaw Power, who developed and financed the Great Lakes’ first privately owned commercial wind power project. Vanderveen said the U.S. wind industry is experiencing its busiest quarter since 2008. Over 90 projects are currently under construction across 29 states.
KVCC's Wind Turbine Technician Academy was launched in the fall of 2009 and is the first-in-the-nation to certify the skills the highly skilled technicians. Wind Turbine Technicians are employed by turbine manufacturers and firms that provide operational and maintenance services as well as construction companies. With the push in this country to generate 20 percent of our energy with wind by 2030, the demand for highly trained technicians will only increase.
The work requires technicians who are willing and able to travel at the direction of their company. The work follows service contracts which cover predicted maintenance as well as unplanned service. One wind turbine technician is needed for every 10 turbines.
The next Academy will begin in January. The December graduates are: Christopher Doetschman of Alpine, TX, Anthony Fairley of Holland, MI; Kevin French, Vicksburg, MI; Justin Graham, Portage, MI; Paul Harter, Kalamazoo, MI; Christopher Haugh, of Chicago; Cody Hopkins of Schoolcraft, MI; Jacob Houser of Kalamazoo, MI; Timothy Larson, of Kalamazoo, MI; Ethan Miller of Wheeler, MI; Steven Sailor of Kalamazoo, MI; Blake Shroll of Greenville, MI; Eric Stark of New Lenox, IL; Barton Tope of Belvidere, IL; Aaron Topp of Plainwell, MI and Jason Welsh of East Troy, WI.