A vocational school is trying to create a “win-win” situation in Vancouver after recognizing a need in the new “green collar” industry.
The plan is to open up a training institute in July at a new campus currently being finished in Vancouver, a move spurred by the combined demand from the wind power industry, the president’s renewable energy initiative and the region’s high unemployment rate.
If accredited, the new Northwest Renewable Energy Institute will train students to climb and maintain the growing number of electricity-generating wind turbines being built in our area and across the nation.
The institute is an offshoot of Vancouver’s International Air and Hospitality Academy, a vocational school which has been training students for three decades.
The school’s founder says he’s been working toward accrediting the new institute since last year and President Obama’s new initiatives have only made the need for the school even greater.
“In his stimulus package, [Obama] included investment tax credit for the wind turbines which is very important for this industry and we just think this is a good time to do that,” Academy founder Arch Miller said. “It doesn’t hurt, the fact that you’ve got 10 percent unemployment in this area.”
Miller said there is a shortage of people trained to maintain the towering wind turbines, which are quickly sprouting up in the West and across the nation.
A wind turbine maker has even donated a tower section to the school for training purposes.
The Renewable Energy Institute will operate at a site on Grand Boulevard in Vancouver.
It will also bring its own new jobs in the form of a staff of 19 that will teach and run the new school.
Not surprisingly, there’s been no shortage of applicants to run the school. So far, 30 people have applied for the open positions.
Each “class” at the new school will graduate 40 students who can expect to make between $36,000 and $68,000 per year once in the field.
There was no immediate word on how long the courses will take to complete.
Miller said they’ll make a final selection for staffing the school in the next week or two and then wait for accreditation approval.