RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (KABC) — Demand for renewable energy is creating a desperate need for people to work in the field.
But finding trained technicians in an evolving field can be a challenge.
The solution: bring the tech to the technicians.
The demand for wind technicians is projected to grow 44% by 2031, which is why Universal Technical Institute is highlighting its new programs meant to provide hands-on skills needed in the field.
“We are right at the pivotal point of this industry to really help the workforce get more trained technicians that can be out there,” said Migdalia Vazquez Valle, the Universal Technical Institute campus president. “Especially making a lucrative career out of being a wind technician or industrial maintenance technician.”
A 60-foot nacelle, which houses the components that transform the wind’s kinetic energy into mechanical energy to turn a generator that produces electricity, is being installed on the campus in Rancho Cucamonga.
Having access to this real world technology will be invaluable for the students hoping to understand the workings of a bed plate, generator or gear box, school officials said.
“It’s important to have that because it gives the experience to the student that they’ve actually put their hands on it,” said Ken Todd, a wind technician training program manager. “They didn’t just read it in a book. They’ve been able to come in and experience the full gamete of what training we provide.”
A critical part of the program will be working on the turbine and learning how to stay safe hundreds of feet in the air, whether on land or over water.
An opportunity that is rare for those going to school to become technicians for renewable energy sources such as wind power.
“They need to know the tooling they’re going to take up the tower because it’s not easy if you run out of batteries or forget a tool,” said Todd. “It’s a long way back to go get that tool. They have to be very regimented and understand what the work scope is.”
The nacelle will be assembled and in place before the seven month program begins in April.