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Feb 13, 2020

Advanced Wind Technician Program opens new career opportunities for rural student

FOX OKC | Feb. 13, 2020
Author: Destiny Washington

Students that attend Advanced Wind Technician Certification Program can work at wind turbines anywhere in the world. (Courtesy: Demery Pennington)

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KOKH) — Oklahoma has vast energy resources, and opportunities are growing to support the clean power industry.

High Plains Technology Center (HPTC) started its wind tech program 12 years ago, with an eye toward training workers for all of Oklahoma’s energy careers.

“A lot has changed since then,” says Taylor Burnett, Asst. Superintendent of the school. “The program started out small, but wind is booming now.”

Burnett says the Advanced Wind Technician Certification Program at High Plains typically enrolls between 12-14 students in a course, with two 20-week courses occurring each year.

The program is creating a robust talent pool that attracts multi-national corporations to Oklahoma for development. Because of this, the wind industry is already the number one taxpayer in 12 counties and 48 school districts, and that number is growing.

Bryant Shepherd, an 18-year-old student from Woodward heard about the program at a high school career fair. 

“The job stability of wind is what drew me to the program at High Plains. I can’t count on oil and gas to put food on the table consistently, so I decided to become a wind tech,” Shepherd said. “I hope to eventually work my way up to becoming a Site Lead.” said Shepherd.

Bonnie Holloway is a 24-year-old student who decided to follow in her dad’s footsteps. 

“My dad has been a wind tech for 15 years. We’re from New Mexico, but my parents moved to Oklahoma for his work, and I decided to follow them. I was working in healthcare before and sitting behind a desk all day is not for me,” Holloway said. “The numbers also make a lot of sense.” said Holloway.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, wind technicians are rated among the fastest growing jobs in America, and they’re being equipped and trained right here in our state.

Read more here.