Oklahoma Panhandle State University (OPSU) has announced new scholarship opportunities made possible by a $150,000 donation from Enel Green Power (EGP) for students majoring in wind energy or education. The gift, paid over three years, is the largest donation by a single wind energy company in Panhandle State history.
“This program changes the game for the wind energy workforce,” said University President Dr. Tim Faltyn. “Anyone who wants a career in wind energy can get their wind technician certificate and enter the workforce immediately. When they are ready to move up, the can come to OPSU and we can give them the skills and education to become supervisors and managers and further their career. What better place to do that than in the most productive wind farms in America?”
This partnership will make it possible for a regional transformation to continue to take shape as Panhandle State seeks to meet local workforce needs through the implementation of new programs and opportunities for students. Two initiatives have been approved this year that will see students benefit from the scholarship, Pathways to Success and Panhandle’s Future.
The majority of Enel Green Power’s investment will fund the Pathways to Success Wind Energy Scholarship. The scholarship is unique because it assists students at Panhandle State as well as High Plains Technology Center pursuing wind technology degrees through the Pathways to Success program.
The Pathways to Success program is designed to set those interested in wind energy on a degree program that sees them through high school graduation to a bachelor’s degree. In partnership with High Plains Technology Center, students can earn their Wind Energy Technician Certificate at HPTC, then transfer to Panhandle State to earn their Associates and Bachelor’s Degrees.
“Wind Technician is the second-fastest growing occupation in the United States and it just makes since that our students in NW Oklahoma take advantage of this tremendous opportunity,” said Superintendent/CEO Dwight R. Hughes at High Plains Technology Center in Woodward, Oklahoma. “HPTC is very excited to partner our world class Wind Tech training program with OPSU’s Wind Associate & Bachelor degree programs and the ENEL scholarships fit perfectly with our combined vision for the future.”
Enel Green Power’s investment also funds the Panhandle’s Future Scholarship, a program that will provide funding for education majors committed to teach for a minimum of two-years in the panhandle area following graduation.
“Our region suffers from a lack of qualified teachers,” added Faltyn. “Through this program, we are giving local students the opportunity and the incentive to build a career educating the youth of our region. Enel’s support is not just an investment in their industry, but an investment in our communities and our way of life. It is truly appreciated.”
Enel Green Power is the largest producer of wind power in Oklahoma, operating 10 wind power plants across the state. Enel is a global company that operates in the renewable energy sector in Europe, Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa producing solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy.