Tech college develops 3 renewable energy degrees

Posted on May 5, 2008. Filed under: General |


From an article by Adam Wise in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune:

Mid-State Technical College plans to add three programs this fall to cater to displaced workers and others who might be interested in the growing renewable energy field.

Wisconsin Technical College System Board members approved the school’s plan to offer biorefinery technology, renewable electricity technician and renewable thermal energy technician training.

The importance of the programs could be compounded if local papermaker NewPage invests in an ethanol plant in the community — a concept it is investigating and that would have the backing of a $30 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

As Domtar plans to close its Port Edwards mill in June and cut 500 south Wood County jobs, renewable energy could be an interesting opportunity for displaced workers, said Ronald Zillmer, associate dean of MSTC’s technical and industrial division.

“We wanted to address the needs of central Wisconsin,” Zillmer said. “It’s a new approach for the tech system in that we’ve been given a charge by the state office in Madison to anticipate need, where in the past, we may wait for a year for need to be shown.”

The biorefinery program will help train plant operators, with an emphasis on problem solving and creativity, said John Anderson, MSTC biological sciences and chemistry instructor.

The other two programs focus on training individuals who would work as installation and maintenance technicians at those plants and also would be involved in the sales and assessment of the buildings.

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