In Omaha...
Wind Energy Worker Training Center Opens

With help from a $100,000 grant from the Nebraska Department of Laborís Nebraska Worker Training Program, a new wind turbine training center opened in Omaha October 2009. The turbine base at the center will be used to train workers in climbing, safety and rescue maneuvers. A 55 ft. tall tower was built at 8960 "L" St. near the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Nebraska Chapter in Omaha.

Inside the tower base is a metal climbing wall and low-speed decender used in emergencies. Trainees in the worker training program will also learn first aid and Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety rules. The courses teach workers cable splicing, working with special tools and handling materials at great heights. A typical wind turbine can be from 250 to 300 ft tall. Use of harnesses and rappelling gear help teach climbing skills which are important for training in the growing wind power industry.

More Wind Jobs on the Way
In 2008, U.S. wind industry jobs saw a 70 percent increase from 2007. With numbers in excess of 85,000 employed, further gains are expected in the years ahead. The projection is that in the next 20 years there will be 150,000 new jobs in the wind industry and a total of 500,000 wind-related jobs. In addition, 28,000 operations and maintenance jobs and 48,000 other maintenance jobs that are related to turbines and infrastructure will need to be filled. Jobs in the wind industry include manufacturing, engineering, permitting and maintenance.

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