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LLCC Unveils New Educational Wind Turbine
As the use of alternative energy sources grow, so does the need for trained and qualified staff to operate and maintain them. And Lincoln Land Community College is preparing students for those jobs with a brand new wind turbine.
"We have a lot of equipment inside where people are learning theory, and they can work on bits and pieces of things," Judy Jozaitis, LLCC Vice President of Workforce Development Community Education, said. "But as I mentioned to you earlier, more and more of our training is taking place outside where people can take what they are learning and apply it."
That's where this new 80-foot wind turbine comes into play.
"We're going to be able to lower it, do the maintenance on it, as far as torquing the blades, inspecting the blades," Curt Raab, an instructor with LLCC's Workforce Careers Center, said. "Then we're going to be able to stand it back up and we're going to be able to wire the inverter, the charge controller. Then we're going to be able to hook it up to appliances or a popcorn machine."
And that hands-on experience is the key.
"I'm one of those student where book learning is one of my weaknesses, because I don't learn from just reading a book," LLCC student Kirsten Bolinger said. "So being able to do it hands on, and actually doing it, and learning by doing it is just amazing."
"You can sit there and read a book all day long, but if you can't turn a screwdriver or envision how you're going to put it together, it just doesn't help you in the real world," Raab said.
This specialized training could land these students the jobs of the future.
"The more companies that come in and are putting this up, the more need you're going to have for students in jobs our there," Raab said.
"With the future and everything, it's just progressing so great that you many run out of regular construction jobs, because everyone's moving towards a green aspect," Bolinger said.
And because of that, Jozaitis said classes are filling up fast.
"We get phone calls all the time," he said. "We have nearly a full waiting list for the next time we run courses."
LLCC's wind turbine was funded by the Department of Education. It's made by the U.S.-based company Bergey Windpower and installed by Springfield's own B and B Electric.