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Columbia Gorge Community College, located in The Dalles, Ore., now offers the first public training for wind energy technicians on the West Coast, the college announced.

Industry partners provided assistance in curriculum development for a six-month pilot program that began in January, as well as for a credit one-year certificate and two-year degree that begins in the fall. Columbia Gorge Community College adds that these partners have also become members of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) advisory committee and are providing in-kind support.

"Seeing all the wind turbine components being transported through the Gorge signaled the possibilities of jobs for our region," says Susan Wolff, chief academic officer of Columbia Gorge Community College and a key architect of the new renewable energy training program.

According to Columbia Gorge Community College, nearly 1,000 MW of wind energy production is installed across eastern Oregon and eastern Washington, and more than 4,000 MW of additional capacity is either under construction now or permitted for construction. Based on those numbers, the college anticipates at least 300 new jobs generated in the region.

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