Going Green: Highland wind tech program helps students get jobs - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Going Green: Highland wind tech program helps students get jobs


Wind technology students at Highland Community College aren't just learning how to cultivate and manage wind energy, they're also improving their chances of landing a career when they graduate.

According to Wind Technology Director David Vrtol, the program has an almost 70 percent hire ratio into the field. Vrtol credits the school's approach to teaching and the wide skill set students learn.

"That could be engineering, operations maintenance, computer programming, so there's nine different areas a student can go into related to renewable energy," he said.

Students in the program like knowing they're helping themselves and helping their environment when they come to class everyday. "The wind turbines are part of the solution," student Derek Hammer said. "Whether you hear about gas prices, natural gas, I really feel as though wind specifically is the answer."

Highland administrators know attitudes like Hammer's will serve their students for a lifetime.

"They like the idea that if they're going to work the next 30 to 40 years, or whatever it is, they're doing something positive and good for the environment, and they see that the green economy is here to stay," Dean of Business Technology Scott Anderson said.

HCC students also get to see first hand how much wind energy can save money since their classroom is powered by a turbine.

The school's wind power club is working to raise money to attend a wind power conference in Chicago in May.

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