By Barbara Baker
NJC Marketing Director
At its recent Advisory Committee meeting, the wind technology training program at Northeastern Junior College took time to recognize various companies and individuals from wind companies that are on board to help with the college’s wind technician training program by offering student internships. By committing to take one or more interns, the companies agree to place students with some of their seasoned technicians to actually be on site and spend extra time training the learners and helping keep them safe while they are in the field.
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Eastern Colorado Workforce Center through the Sterling Workforce Center, Industry, and Northeastern Junior College (NJC) partnership previously received SECTORS, State Energy Sector Partnership (SESP), and Community Based Job Training (CBJT) grant funds with the purpose of assisting with wind training programs throughout Colorado. The workforce grant specifically was designed to help students throughout the eastern half of Colorado receive money if they were working in the wind industry in unpaid internships. Due to insurance reasons, most wind energy companies won’t have unpaid people working on the turbines. The Workforce Center has set up arrangements with these companies to help offset the costs of an intern with the grant money so that those companies are more willing to take interns . Through this partnership, NJC was able to service the most interns it ever has this year. Letters of appreciation were written, signed by NJC and state officials and then framed for presentation to the various companies by the wind technology students specifically assigned to intern with them.
Companies being recognized and their level of involvement included: Infigen Energy’s Cedar Creek I operation in Grover, CO who took 14 interns from May to August , 2011. AES Wind Generation in McFadden, WY, took two interns; Western Turbine of Aurora, CO with sites in Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming, trained one intern in its specialized MET tower installation divsion; NextEra Energy headquartered in Debary, FL took two interns, one at its Peetz, CO location and another at its Horse Hollow 2 location near Austin, TX; and Enxco (an EDF Energies Nouvelles Company) who trained two NJC interns at its Peetz, CO location.
The hands-on experience that is provided in the field is absolutely critical to the completion of the wind technician training.
Most of these same companies have been involved in the wind technology program at NJC since its inception and have provided solid input into the program’s academic design and requirements, making certain students will be able to move right into the industry once they complete the required classes and internship experiences.
Students (pictured l to r) Reuben Zavala (Springfield, CO), Shawn Brandau (Akron CO), Brennan Hottinger (Akron CO), Dean Becker (Sterling, CO), Kyle Shutte (Stratton,CO), Robert Larsen (Denver,CO), Katie Guinn (Yuma,CO), and Adam Schrimpscher (Sterling, CO) were among the 14 students who completed wind tech internships through Infigen at its Cedar Creek I site in Grover Colorado.