As some segments of the economy continue to take a downturn, much of the renewable energy sector is still experiencing an uptick. In fact, for some areas, they can’t get enough of qualified workers. That has prompted more and more technical training colleges to turn their efforts to teaching the skills becoming more and more in demand.
This story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel features Mid-State Technical College as an example of how these schools are helping change the economy with the promise of alternative energy:
Mid-State is considered a leader in training workers for the renewable energy sector, which, with the aid of federal stimulus dollars, many experts say will be a source of job growth during tough economic times.
The goal is to provide training for future jobs as paper mills move to manufacture next-generation biofuels from wood waste. Several mills have received federal energy grants to pursue these projects, and more funding could come through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Clark said.
“We’re perfectly aligned for that,” Clark said.
In Milwaukee, Milwaukee Area Technical College has seen strong demand for courses in energy management and energy efficiency, said Vicki Martin, interim president…
Beyond the technical colleges, Johnson Controls Inc., which imposed a hiring freeze because of the recession, has continued hiring in select areas in its Milwaukee-based building-efficiency business – which focuses on helping businesses, schools and other buildings reduce energy costs or add renewable power, said Don Albinger, vice president of renewable energy solutions.
In the last six months, the Milwaukee-based building energy business has added 70 jobs, he said.
“And we have the capacity to double that when the economy turns around,” he said.
The article goes on to point out that Wisconsin’s technical colleges now have six associate degree programs in renewable energy… compared to none just a few years ago. In addition, you might remember from my post on March 23rd that the University of Illinois will be offering a master’s degree in bioenergy this fall.