High Plains Technology Center, a vocational school that is the first technology center in Oklahoma focused on wind turbine training, concluded its busiest year ever in 2019 for the number of technicians trained in standardized safety and emergency procedures by the Global Wind Organisation.
Meeting demand for qualified technicians is one thing, and there’s much more.
“When a student calls and says we helped save this person’s life, that’s what it’s all about. GWO will save somebody’s life,” says Taylor Burnett, assistant superintendent, business and industry services.
The overall goal of the technology center is to support businesses and, located in the panhandle of Oklahoma in Woodward, it can serve the wind industry in that state as well as Texas, Kansas and Colorado – all states that are in the top 10 for installed wind turbines in the U.S.
The keys to success are a 20-week program for wind technicians that is offered twice each year, with students offered jobs before they graduate, as well as standardized courses of GWO that is provided every two weeks in basic safety and technical training.
“We team up with wind turbine contractors and subcontractors to offer GWO training. Companies need qualified technicians now, and GWO training is successful because everyone has the same certifications," Burnett says.
GWO collaborates to optimize the supply chain for talent in the wind industry by offering a growing number of international standards for safety training and emergency procedures and providing certification transparency. Partnering with industry leaders, GWO delivers a training portfolio that includes Basic Safety, Basic Technical, Advanced Rescue, Enhanced First Aid and Blade Repair, with Slinger Signaler soon to be available. Training of technicians is verified easily through the GWO WINDA database.
High Plains Technology Center has seven instructors focused on wind turbines and GWO modules, which include first aid, manual handling, fire awareness, working at heights, mechanical, electrical, hydraulics and installation training. The majority of the instructors also bring hands-on experience working as technicians on wind turbines.
To provide a true-to-life experience, the center’s facilities include a live working turbine, a 35-feet high indoor climbing tower and a nacelle housing.
Burnett explains that the ways to get started successfully are to stay informed of requirements and changes as the wind turbine industry grows and to get involved in the GWO network of manufacturers, owner operators and training providers.
It’s all about using relevant, current knowledge to meet the needs for qualified talent in the wind industry, he concludes.
High Plains Technology Center
Located in the middle of America’s wind corridor, High Plains Technology Center in Woodward, Oklahoma, is at the heart of wind development technology in the United States. The center’s hands-on, dynamic climb and rescue training initiatives provide comprehensive training for the wind industry. As the first technology center in Oklahoma to offer a course of study for wind turbine students, High Plains Technology Center is now the first and only GWO certified provider in Oklahoma for existing wind industry training.