Rick Gonzales of Rockport, Texas, wants a career in renewable energy. He lives near a large wind-power plant, and is optimistic about what he sees. “Wind energy is a new and upcoming business,” Gonzeles says. “It’s the future.”
Gonzeles is featured in the announcement of the opening of a new training center that could help him and others looking to break into the renewable-energy field. The Renewable Energy Education Center in Ingleside, Texas, on a former naval base near Corpus Christi, is now the home of the cutting edge training equipment used by Texas State Technical College Harlingen.
The Wind Energy Technology Program, offered in cooperation with Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, is a focus of the center, which makes sense: Texas leads the United States in wind power production, so it will need a steady stream of trained workers to operate its current plants, and as wind power continues to grow, there figures to be a need for designers, developers and engineers for future plants.
Still, the courses offered at the center – where classes are slated to begin at the end of the month with around 20 students – will not pigeonhole graduates into the wind industry, according to the educators there. Del Mar College President Marcus Escamilla said courses can be easily integrated into other educational paths, like engineering, or even careers in other renewable energy industries, and Larry Lee, dean of the Business, Professional and Technology Education division at Del Mar, noted that the courses from both Texas State Technical and Del Mar could inform and be informed by the training at the center.