Wind Academy, a wind energy technician training program operated by Siemens Gamesa, has announced a new initiative designed to help more aspiring wind turbine technicians to excel in careers in the renewable wind energy industry, which supports 116,800 jobs throughout the U.S.
Through a partnership with Meritize, a financing solution company for skills-based training and education, trainees will now be eligible for merit-based financing, which can in many cases reward individual borrowers for their past educational and military experiences.
“Investments in renewable energy infrastructure are not just helping to reduce carbon emissions, but also creating access to well-paying jobs in the new clean energy economy in communities across the country,” says Dr. Cynthia Brown, director of Wind Academy by Siemens Gamesa. “Wind techs are now the fastest-growing occupation in the country. With the right training and support, wind technology can offer high-growth pathways to career and economic mobility, while supporting the shift to a more environmentally-sustainable economy.”
As industries work to reduce carbon emissions by shifting to renewable energy alternatives, wind power generation and adoption continues to increase dramatically. A U.S. Department of Energy report found that more wind energy was installed in 2020 than any other energy source, representing 42% of new U.S. energy capacity.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings for wind turbine technicians are projected to grow 68 percent through 2030, much faster than average rate of growth for all other occupations. The median annual salary for roles in wind turbine technology is $56,230, significantly higher than median annual wages in the broader economy.
To help meet growing demand for qualified technicians to support the fast-growing wind power industry, Wind Academy combines classroom instruction led by industry veterans with hands-on experience using full-size nacelles and climbing towers to help trainees learn the fundamentals of electrical engineering, safety, and repair along with the required training needed to install, inspect, repair and maintain wind turbines.
The introduction of the new financing option offered on the Meritize platform is designed to create a more inclusive and affordable pathway to help wind techs-in-training finance the cost of tuition and access careers in the industry.
Unlike traditional lenders that rely solely on FICO scores and other financial records to determine whether to lend to an individual, Meritize considers the full breadth and depth of an individual’s academic or military achievements to enhance credit evaluation and improve loan options. Because Meritize takes into account military experiences, merit-based financing can provide a significant source of financial and credit assistance for returning veterans who are transitioning into civilian life.
“To respond to a changing climate and power the shift to a renewable energy economy, the wind energy industry is going to need an army of wind and solar techs, which are now among the fastest growing and most in-demand jobs in the U.S.,” states Chris Keaveney, CEO of Meritize. “This is a prime example of how we can help workers to reskill for careers in high-growth industries on an accelerated timeline, while meeting some of the most pressing challenges for our society, our economy, and our environment.”
Through a short course of training, the three-week program can unlock significant wage gain opportunities and long-term career advancement from a wide variety of work experience levels and professional backgrounds. Trainees enrolled in Wind Academy also benefit from career development support, such as assistance with job applications and resume writing, to fast track the hiring and application process.
Wind techs benefit from long-term opportunities for career stability and advancement within the sector, with experienced professionals eventually rising to become managers who lead teams of technicians across sites and regions.
As one of the largest suppliers of wind energy technology in the U.S, Siemens Gamesa originally began focusing on training and development by creating in-house technician training programs as part of its employee on-boarding. With the launch of Wind Academy, the company is now offering training that draws on the same curriculum and instructors used to train new hires within its own internal workforce.
With a full range of Global Wind Organization (GWO) certifications, an internationally recognized training certification, Wind Academy by Siemens Gamesa curriculum will allow a graduate to apply their knowledge to any turbine manufacture and service provider.