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Highland Community College (HCC) has been given official approval of the state's first associate degree program for wind turbine technicians. The program was developed through a partnership with EcoEnergy, an alternative energy developer.

The members of the Illinois Board of Higher Education approved the program's curriculum with no changes. HCC received approval by the Illinois Community College Board earlier this year and anticipates classes will begin this fall.

The two-year program will include courses in subjects including electronics, meteorology, math, business, speech and physical education.

"More and more companies, including EcoEnergy, are working to bring clean, green wind energy facilities to the Midwest," says Shawn Gaffney, president of EcoEnergy. "As we develop and build wind energy facilities, the demand for well-trained turbine techs will keep increasing."

The initial capacity for the program is 16 students the first year, plus 16 new students in the second year. HCC plans to increase the program's capacity to 48 students within three years.



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