Herzing University-Online offers wind energy technology degreeWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Tom Konecny, Toledo Free Press Staff Writer
Herzing University-Online now offers an associate’s degree or diploma in wind energy technology, achievable in 12-20 months, with the first classes beginning April 28. The specialized curriculum is the first of its kind specific to a Northwest Ohio-based learning institution.
The program partners with India-based Suzlon Wind Energy, the world’s fifth-largest turbine manufacturer, to provide students with hands-on training.
Following online completion of the program, students receive two weeks of instruction at Suzlon’s 12,000-square-foot facility in Chicago – the only in the Americas to offer a fully operational, working-height wind turbine dedicated exclusively for training. The lessons in Chicago, including transportation, lodging and meals, are included as part of the tuition.
Ohio, by a law signed in 2008, mandates that 25 percent of the power sold by electric distribution companies must come from alternative energy sources, at least 12.5 percent of which must come from renewables, such as wind.
“Once a student gets into the field, there’s jobs,” said Nigel Longworth, campus president of Herzing University-Online. “Suzlon can’t hire enough of the students coming through. They need more people. There are good-paying jobs that exist.”
According to a 2012 report from the American Wind Energy Association, the United States has enough wind power capacity to power 15 million homes. Wind energy was the No. 1 source of new energy-generating capacity for the country that year.
Ohio law requires that at least one half of the renewable energy used must be generated at facilities located in the state.
“The exciting point for Ohio is that you have windmills. Students can study online, but the jobs are local,” Longworth said. “Then they can get the training, and then come back to Ohio for the jobs without relocating.”
For those looking for employment anywhere, there are more than 45,000 utility-scale wind turbines operating in the United States and Puerto Rico, providing careers for more than 80,000 people and growing.
“You gain the skills from this program, and it’s a pathway into many, many other jobs in many industries across the country,” Longworth said. “Students are investing in it, and they’re going to find good-paying jobs.”
The wind energy technology program covers industrial safety, applied and wind energy physics, energy production from wind and wind energy maintenance. It also covers DC and AC electricity, motors and generators, fluid power, programmable logic controllers and basic mechanics. In addition, students will earn certification in OSHA 10, basic safety and CPR and a Suzlon climbing certificate.
“You combine several hazards: high voltage electricity and the fact they’re working at heights,” said Charles Clayton, training manager at Suzlon’s North American training facility. “You really have to have faith and confidence that the person is doing the job safe. If the person doesn’t have the proper preparation, that puts safety in question. It’s one of those industries that it’s hard to find qualified people with the right attitude and aptitude to do the job.”
Clayton said the program is also unique for offering training with larger, commercial wind turbines, and not strictly residential-sized turbines.
“This is the first I’m aware of where someone is coming to the manufacturer to finish their online work,” Clayton said.
For more information, contact Herzing admissions at 800-596-0724, or visit herzing.edu.
Tags: American Wind Energy Association, associate's degree, Charles Clayton, Chicago, commercial wind turbines, Herzing University-Online, industrial safety, Nigel Longworth, OSHA 10, Puerto Rico, Suzlon Wind Energy, turbine manufacturer, wind energy, wind energy maintenance, wind energy physics, wind energy production, wind energy technology