Education feature: CCC adds wind energy program

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Darold Schultz of Portales discusses current events in wind energy in Clovis Community College’s introduction to wind energy course. The college began a wind energy program this fall.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Clovis Community College has added a wind energy program to their catalog this fall.

Program manager Delane McUne and instructor J.R. Richter said they pushed to add the program to the college’s one-year-old industrial technology plant management program.

“Wind energy is a definite growth area,” McUne said. “It’s important for the college to recognize the national push toward wind energy. The field is growing in the Texas Panhandle and since we’re 10 miles away from the state line, we have to look at that market.”

McUne was hired as the industrial technology program manager in September 2007. She said she spent a year building the industrial technology plant management program.

Classes began in the fall of 2008.

When a state mandate requiring 10 percent of the state’s energy be provided by alternative energy sources by 2012, McUne and Richter began looking at how to add wind energy to the plant management program.

Plant management and wind energy share several classes, providing students much of the information they need to be a technician while giving them classes solidly in their field.

McUne and Richter have experience in energy but plan to take courses at other universities to expand their knowledge.

“Once you’re in a turbine, it’s basically a power plant 307 feet off the ground,” Richter said.

McUne said she involved industry professionals when developing the classes.

“We asked them what they want in a technician and we molded our plan to that,” McUne said.

The current class of 20 in the wind energy program can work toward a letter of qualification, certification of completion and an associates of applied science in industrial technology with a concentration in wind energy.

McUne said the three goals help motivate part-time students.

“Each level helps the students and is good for employers too. It lets them see that the student is working towards something,” she said.

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