Training For the Future

The need for a new workforce is emerging from the wind. And it's equaling an economic boost for the area.

It's expected thousands of wind energy technicians will be needed within the next decade and a majority of them will be needed right here in Texas.

There are three area community colleges beginning wind technician training programs.

Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari, Amarillo College, and Clarendon College all hope to teach people what they need to know for new jobs.

"We're going to be able to provide for the community, training for the community what is needed in this area," said Dr. Debra Kuhl, at Dean at Clarendon College.

"We see it's going to be a large job market for the Texas Panhandle," said Jack Stanley, the science and engineering Division Chair at Amarillo College.

Economic advisors say wind energy technicians will provide the people in the community the ability to improve their way of life.

"Our unemployment is pretty low but this gives a person the opportunity to get a better job. And increase their income. That's one reason we're targeting night classes," said Stanley.

"They're going to go out, have higher wages, more spending power, which is going to put more money into the local economy," said Dr. Kuhl.

But the economic impact doesn't have to wait until students graduate.

Officials at Mesalands say their wind technician program is already helping the town's economy.

"We have, right now, 32 more students than we would normally have. Those students have to buy food, pay rent," said John Yearout, the Director of Public Relations at Mesalands Community College.

From Dumas to Tulia, and Hereford to Shamrock. Some experts predict their will be a need of at least three thousand new wind energy technicians in the panhandle alone.

Coming up tomorrow we'll highlight the three programs and show you the benefit for students in each program.