VICE News: These former coal workers are training to be wind technicians
By Arielle Duhaime-Ross, VICE News
A Chinese-owned wind turbine company is trying to recruit workers — in the heart of coal country.
Wind turbine technician is the fastest-growing job in the country, but the workforce has yet to top 5,000 nationally. This summer, wind turbine company GoldWind Americas held free seminars in Wyoming, a state that also happens to be the largest coal producer in the U.S., to drum up interest in alternative energy labor.
The sessions were designed to give potential recruits a sense of what it takes to maintain wind turbines for a living. But many of the attendees were ex–coal workers who had lost their jobs in recent years, like Jason Willbanks.
“Last year was a horrible time to be unemployed up here in northeastern Wyoming, for sure,” he told VICE News during one of the seminars.
NYTimes: What’s Up in Coal Country: Alternative-Energy Jobs
By Diane Cardwell, NYTtimes
To view the whole story online, visit NYTimes.com
Miners may have just the skills for scaling wind towers and putting solar panels on roofs. And that’s no small thing in Wyoming and West Virginia.
From the mountain hollows of Appalachia to the vast open plains of Wyoming, the coal industry long offered the promise of a six-figure income without a four-year college degree, transforming sleepy farm towns into thriving commercial centers.
But today, as King Coal is being dethroned — by cheap natural gas, declining demand for electricity, and even green energy — what’s a former miner to do?
Nowhere has that question had more urgency than in Wyoming and West Virginia, two very different states whose economies lean heavily on fuel extraction. With energy prices falling or stagnant, both have lost population and had middling economic growth in recent years. In national rankings of economic vitality, you can find them near the bottom of the pile.
Their fortunes have declined as coal has fallen from providing more than half of the nation’s electricity in 2000 to about one-third last year. Thousands of workers have lost their jobs and moved on — leaving idled mines, abandoned homes and shuttered stores downtown.
Now, though, new businesses are emerging. They are as varied as the layers of rock that surround a coal seam, but in a twist, a considerable number involve renewable energy. And past jobs in fossil fuels are proving to make for good training.
Wind technician training program for those interested in joining the rapidly growing wind industry
CHICAGO (September 13, 2017) – Officials from Chicago-based Goldwind Americas (“Goldwind”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co., Ltd. (SZSE: 002202) (HK: 2208) and Casper College of Casper, Wyoming announced today that they are partnering to host the first two-week wind technician training course sponsored by Goldwind Works. The Goldwind Works wind technician training program is scheduled to begin on October 16, 2017 and will be held on the Casper College campus located in Casper, Wyoming.
Goldwind Works is accepting applications for ten students for this first training class, which will consist of an integrated two-week curriculum combining traditional lecture and hands-on lab formats. Students in the training program will receive basic technical and safety qualifications and certifications covering such concepts as wind turbine systems, Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, and safety at heights – the full curriculum is available on the Goldwind Works website (goldwindworks.com). The company will utilize training facilities and equipment at Casper College’s Center for Training and Development. Goldwind Works is sponsoring all costs associated with delivering the training to these ten students.
“We are thrilled to partner with Casper College to take meaningful action to help educate and train the American workforce for jobs in an industry, not just of the future, but of today – to power America,” said David Halligan, Chief Executive Officer of Goldwind Americas.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wind Technician is the fastest growing job profession in the U.S. and, with Wyoming set to be a big producer of wind energy, Goldwind and Casper College are working together to bring opportunity to those interested in working in this rapidly growing industry.
“This is an important role we play in helping meet the workforce needs for the region,” says Casper College President Darren Divine. “The partnership with Goldwind is a great example of how Casper College works to meet the training needs of growing industries. We’re very excited to be partnered with Goldwind for the important work they’ll be doing in Wyoming.” This partnership between Goldwind and Casper College will grow over time to keep pace with the changing requirements for people working in the wind energy industry.
Goldwind Works is currently accepting applications for its training program. Those interested in learning more about the training and how to apply can visit goldwindworks.com/training or email email@example.com.
For Goldwind Works: Colin Mahoney, Mahoney Communications Group
212-220-6045 / firstname.lastname@example.org
For Casper College: Chris Lorenzen
307-268-3088 / email@example.com
About Goldwind Works
Goldwind Works’ -- a Goldwind Americas-sponsored training curriculum -- is an integrated, two-week program combining traditional lecture and hands-on lab formats for those transitioning away from the coal and/or oil & gas industries or those interested in a new field of work. Participants in the training program will receive basic technical and safety qualifications and certifications to assist in obtaining wind turbine technician internships and full-time positions. Goldwind Works is providing this training complimentary to select individuals who are ready to take their career to new heights. To learn more visit goldwindworks.com.
About Casper College
Casper College is a premier, public, comprehensive two-year institution with a primary focus on student success. The college offers academic transfer programs, career training, continuing education, and basic skills instruction. Casper College provides opportunities and programs to improve quality of life and supports community building and citizenship for the people of Casper, Natrona County, the State of Wyoming, and the World. The college offers over 140 degree and certificate options including a degree in renewable technologies that trains students as instrumentation and control technicians for electrical power generation from wind and solar. Visit Casper College online at caspercollege.edu.
CBS Evening News: Wyoming embraces wind energy, and the jobs that come with it
By Barry Petersen, CBS News
To view the whole story online, visit CBSNews.com
ROLLING HILLS, Wyo. -- Their jobs involve dangling 300 feet in the air, roping the blade of a wind turbine. The work comes with a view across the Wyoming prairie -- and a view well into the future.
Wind turbine jobs are expected to be the fastest growing jobs in America between now and 2024, growing 108 percent.
The turbines stand on reclaimed land covering a coal mine that was worked for almost 50 years. But increasingly, Wyoming's energy comes not from mining what's down below, but from mining the wind above.
In Wyoming -- the top coal-producing state in America -- wind now provides 10 times more energy than it did a decade ago. And that may just be the beginning -- a Chinese company is recruiting workers for wind turbines it hopes to build in Wyoming, and will even pay for training.
Steve Harshman, Republican speaker of the Wyoming House of Representatives, said he has no problem with the Chinese creating Wyoming jobs.
"There is so much integration in economies around the world," he said. "I think it's all about free markets and I think we all support that."
Travis Harkins traded his coal job to work in wind, a decision he made with his wife Sam and three active boys very much in mind.
"When I was in coal, I had a concern about how I was going to provide for my family," he said. "Wind generation definitely opened up a whole new avenue for me. And a lot more opportunity."
People here have long boasted about being America's biggest coal producer. Now they're learning to embrace the winds of change -- and with it, a lot of new jobs.
NYTimes: Wind Project in Wyoming Envisions Coal Miners as Trainees
By Diane Cardwell, NYTtimes
To view the whole story online, visit NYTimes.com
Goldwind Americas, an arm of a leading wind-turbine manufacturer based in China, has been expanding its business in the United States. It has been careful to seek out local, American workers for permanent jobs on the wind farms it supplies.
Now it is trying to extend that policy to an unlikely place: Wyoming, which produces more coal than any other state and has hardly welcomed the march of turbines across the country, even imposing a tax on wind-energy generation.
On Thursday at an energy conference in Wyoming, the company announced plans for a free training program for one of the nation’s fastest-growing jobs: wind farm technician. And it is aiming the program at coal miners having trouble finding work, as well as those from other industries.
Called Goldwind Works, the program would begin next month with a series of informational meetings in Wyoming and include a safety training and tower climb at a wind farm in Montana.
Watch our video to learn more about Goldwind Works from Goldwind Americas’ CEO, David Halligan.
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