Citing the need to recruit and train a larger, educated workforce to support the global expansion of renewable energy, GE and Excelsior College announced that company employees can receive nearly 50 college credits for completing the company’s intensive renewable-energy services training program.
To earn GE’s Lead Certification Standard, technicians must complete more than 500 hours of classroom, online, and hands-on field training on wind turbine components at GE’s Energy Learning Center (ELC) in Schenectady, N.Y., its renewable energy headquarters. Practical work experience also gets credit.
Technicians train at the ELC with a strong focus on safety. Students learn to inspect and repair GE wind-turbine components, including those in a nacelle installed atop a 200-ft. tower.
Technicians who complete the certification program earn credit hours for their work experience through Excelsior College, a nonprofit and regionally accredited institution. The college has created a new concentration in Renewable Energy Technologies within the school’s Bachelor of Professional Studies in Technology Management program. The general public is eligible to register for this concentration now. GE’s technicians also may apply previous college credits to the new degree concentration.
“Excelsior College recognizes the future of adult education will be increasingly aligned with the needs of businesses and workers alike, including the energy industry,” said Excelsior College President Dr. John F. Ebersole.
Travis Anderson, one of the first GE service technicians to enroll in the program, is the company’s site lead at the Blue Canyon Wind Farm in Oklahoma. He has worked on wind farms using GE turbines for five years. After helping develop the program that lets GE technicians participate, he enrolled himself and is eligible to receive 48 credits.
“The renewable energy college credits program with Excelsior College is important to us as GE employees because it recognizes the value of our training and rewards us for classroom and practical work experience,” Anderson said.
“Offering our employees the opportunity to earn college credits for completing our Wind Technician Certification Program enhances the value of our products and services, and lets GE compete for—and retain—the skilled workers we need to support our globally installed base of wind turbines,” said Andy Holt, general manager—renewable energy services for GE Power & Water.
The Excelsior College program marks the first time GE has partnered with a U.S. college to award credits to its renewable energy technicians for their work experience. GE has relationships with a number of other U.S. colleges and universities—including Union Graduate College in Schenectady—in complementary fields as the energy industry seeks to recruit and train new engineers and technicians as employees from the “Baby Boomer” era retire.
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