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Wind for Schools: Developing Education Programs to Train the Next Generation of the Wind Energy Workforce

Wind for Schools: Developing Education Programs to Train the Next Generation of the Wind Energy Workforce

File: Wind for Schools: Developing Education Programs to Train the Next Generation of the Wind Energy Workforce

Date: 8/31/2009

As the United States moves toward a vision of greatly expanded wind energy use, the rapidly growing wind industry faces two challenges: a critical need for skilled workers trained in wind energy technology and the need to address local concerns caused by a lack of understanding of the true issues and real benefits of wind energy development. The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind for Schools project aims to address these two critical issues.

The Wind for Schools project works to engage local citizens in a wind energy discussion while developing a knowledge base for wind energy within schools. The project's three primary goals are to (1) engage rural elementary and secondary school teachers and students in wind energy education; (2) equip college students in wind energy applications while starting a nucleus for expanded programs to provide the growing wind industry with and interested and equipped workforce; and (3) introduce wind energy on a small scale to communities, starting a discussion of the benefits and issues in using wind energy to meet the needs of the nation's and the world's energy future.

The general approach of the Wind for Schools project is to install small wind turbines at rural elementary and secondary "host" schools while developing wind energy application centers at higher education institutions. Teacher training and hands-on curricula are implemented at each host school to bring the wind turbine into the classroom through interactive and interschool wind-related research tasks. The students at the wind energy application centers assist in the assessment, design, and installation of the small wind systems at the host schools. They also participate in class work and other engineering projects in the wind energy field.

This paper provides an overview of the project elements, including a description of host and collegiate school curricula developed for wind energy and the status of the current projects. The paper also provides focused information on how schools, regions, or countries can become involved or implement similar projects to expand the social acceptance and understanding of wind energy.

This information was last updated on August 31, 2009