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Teaching New Technologies

Educators have long been pioneers, nurturing an adventurous spirit in their classrooms and encouraging students to question the status quo. By teaching tangible principles, but then pushing their charges to think about possibilities, ideas blossom everyday. Students become innovators. New doors open. We all benefit from the winds of change.

Scott Anderson is one such pioneer. This Associate Dean of Business and Technology at Highland Community College in Freeport, Illinois, teamed up with EcoEnergy to create Illinois’ first associate's degree program for Wind Turbine Technicians. This program will not only provide jobs for the local economy, but will also give young people an exciting new career choice to ponder…one that didn’t previously exist.

"Basically, the main job of this person after graduation will be to operate and maintain wind turbine machines," says Scott, "a high-tech job that requires specialized knowledge. Our two-year program develops qualified workers that are very much needed in a growing industry."

EcoEnergy has provided financial support and technical assistance to the community college, including availability of its staff members as adjunct instructors for classes.

According to EcoEnergy President Shawn Gaffney, "We plan long-term involvement in each facility we develop, and part of that commitment, I believe, is making sure that qualified technicians are available to keep these turbines up and running."

Freeport is a fitting locale for Illinois’ first wind-turbine technician degree program, since wind power has been an important part of the community’s history.

It is the hometown of Stover Manufacturing Company, which manufactured windmills from 1866 to 1942. Stover windmills were sold all over the world, and many of them are still around today.

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