Grant provides certificate program

A new 12-week program available at the North American Wind Research and Training Center will increase employment opportunities for those interested in wind energy studies.

Jim Morgan, Director of the NAWRTC said Mesalands Community College is now offering an Occupational Certificate in Basic Wind Energy Technology.

"The certification is tailored for workforce development," Morgan said. "It will consists of all technical course available in the college's first-year degree program."

Morgan said students enrolled in the program, will learn wind turbine technology, turbine maintenance, tower safety, and wind economics. He said course topics include studies in electricity, hydraulics, and mechanics, along with hands-on training on the college's 1.5-megawatt wind turbine located adjacent to the new Wind Center.

"This new program allows the North American Wind Research and Training Center to better serve the regional residents by providing a grant funded 12-week training course for the Wind Energy Technology Program," Morgan said.

Morgan said with the certification students can choose seek employment immediately in the wind energy field or continue their education at Mesalands.

"A student could also choose to return at a later time and obtain the full degree," Morgan said. "Our flexibility with our wind energy studies is one of the reasons I felt we qualified and received this grant opportunity."

Morgan said this new certification program is the result of the new Wind Center of Excellence grant. He said the $523,751 grant will provide much needed workforce development for workers seeking a career in the wind industry.

"The college is excited to be offering this 12-week certification program in wind energy to residents that meet the grant funding qualifications," said Dr. Mildred Lovato, MCC president. "This program is designed to educate students on the basics of the industry, as they gain real-world training experience climbing our wind turbine. We also want to stimulate our local, regional, and statewide economy by preparing New Mexico residents for a rewarding career in a growing field."

Morgan said the grant is available for those whom meet specific qualifications including, displaced workers, veterans and qualified spouses of veterans, or individuals who qualify as low income.

"Even if you do not qualify for the grant funding you can still enroll in the class for the certification," Morgan said.

Classes for the program start Feb. 13. For a list of the grant funding qualifications and admission information, visit www.mesalands.edu/wind or call 461-4413, ext. 156, or toll-free at (800) 261-4877.

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