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Creating a Wind-Smart Workforce in Wisconsin

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Wisconsin KidWind Challenge participants competed at the Wisconsin Energy Institute sponsored by Alliant Energy, EDF Renewables North America and Madison Gas & Electric.  Two teams from Darlington Middle School harnessed the wind with enthusiasm and won recognition for their wind turbine design.  Both teams qualified for the National KidWind Challenge in Houston this May.   The National KidWind Challenge is the “ultimate wind energy learning experience for middle- and high-school students around the country.”  The event encourages students to design, build and compete in a hands-on, creative application of wind energy.    Among the sponsors you’ll find the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) who is dedicated to community and education through various wind energy programs designed to capture student interest.  In Wisconsin, students were excited to participate admitting they had always been curious about the 49 turbines already operating in their area. Scott Williams, research and education coordinator at the Wisconsin Energy Institute hopes that curiosity will pay off, stating, “The whole point of this is to really inspire young people to be involved in STEM and also renewable energy as a career opportunity.”  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of wind turbine service technicians is projected to grow 96 percent from 2016 to 2026.  Wind turbine technicians are among the fastest growing careers and with such high demand for jobs, Williams hopes to raise awareness for students in his community and across the country.  

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