In September of 2008, Northern Maine Community College (NMCC) launched a first-of-its-kind program in New England geared toward training wind power technicians. Now NMCC is gearing up for the next class.
The program trains wind power technicians to operate, maintain and repair wind turbine generators.
Officials from NMCC said they were inspired to create the program because of a growing interest in wind power and the school’s proximity to the state’s first Mars Hill, the state’s first wind farm.
NMCC President Tim Crowley reported that the college has instructed 42 students who took the initial wind power technology program courses.
A full associate degree program will be on line this fall.
The college intends to hire additional instructors to help teach the rest of the courses designed for the program.
Estimates indicate Aroostook County has the potential to realize 50 to 80 new, long-term, highly skilled, high-wage technical positions in operation and maintenance for wind farms between 2009 and 2012.
As wind farms are being developed in northern Washington County, Franklin County, western Maine and in Canada’s Atlantic provinces more windmill technicians will be needed. A two-year technical degree is the current desired credential for entry into these positions.
Entry-level wages for a wind power technician range from $18 to $22 an hour.