A community college in northern Illinois is getting industry recognition for its program related to wind energy.
Highland Community College in Freeport has received the “seal of approval” from the American Wind Energy Association. It’s one of only nine schools in the nation to receive the distinction. Highland offers a program for those wanting to be turbine technicians.
Scott Anderson is the Dean of Business and Technology at HCC. He says they hope this serves a recruiting tool. "We are approved by the Illinois Community College Board. But, on a more technical and industry-wide level, we can verify the strength of our program, and just have the recognition knowing that what they learn here will be used in the industry."
Anderson says the program has done well when it comes to retaining students and placing them in the field. But, he also says there are challenges, because the classroom equipment is expensive. A lack of available materials has also forced the school to develop a lot of curriculum on its own.