The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data Tuesday showing that jobs as solar installers and wind technicians are projected to grow the fastest of any in the U.S. economy over the coming decade. The number of people working in these professions will double between 2016 and 2026.
Where are wind jobs located?
Wind jobs are concentrated in rural areas, bringing good-paying opportunities to the center of the country. Kids who grow up on farms in Iowa, Texas, and North Dakota can see their future right in their hometown.
Newsy recently profiled wind turbine technicians in Iowa, including Derek Gruis. He said, “You always take pride in what you want to do, right? That’s kind of the mentality of a blue-collar job. You come to work. You do the right thing. I definitely think it’s a huge future here.”
The men and women who make up the wind tech workforce are tough and tech savvy. These industrial athletes climb hundreds of feet into the air and cart heavy equipment with them, then repair and inspect the sophisticated electronics and mechanics inside of the machines.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Kids are being introduced to wind technology through programs like KidWind, which has been helping teachers and students explore wind energy for close to 15 years. The National FFA (Future Farmers of America) Organization also helps educate young people about careers in wind and rates the future job outlook market as “excellent.”
Spots as wind techs are earned through two-year training programs offered at technical schools. The Department of Energy maintains a list on their website of 171 community colleges and universities that offer wind energy education programs. From coast to coast, there are students taking advantage of the job prospects offered by the wind and solar job boom.
Tour a turbine
Watch a tour of the journey up a turbine, hosted by an animate wind technician in Colorado: