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Highland Wind Turbine Technician Students climb wind tower

All sixteen students in Highland Community College�s first Introduction to Wind Technology class climbed a 300 ft. wind tower at the Mendota Wind Farm in rural Lee County on Wednesday, Sept. 16. The students climbed in teams of four, stopping in the turbine housing (or nacelle as it is called in the wind industry) and spending time getting used to being high atop the housing. funny cartoon pictures

First Climb

HCC Wind Tech Students at the Mendota Wind Farm funny pictures

�Awesome,� was how Student Matt Bergesch described the experience. �It was beautiful up there looking out over the countryside. It was hard work at times too,� he said reflecting on the tower�s interior ladder with nearly 250 rungs. �It was great for us to see if we are fit for the job.� funny images

The students are all in their first semester of the College�s new Associate of Applied Science Wind Turbine Technician program�the first in the state of Illinois and one of only a few in the nation. The climb was conducted early in the students� program in order to give them the experience of actually being in a tower. Associate Dean of Business and Technology Scott Anderson explained, �some programs wait until the students are nearly finished with the degree before getting them up in a tower, if at all.�

Electronics instructor Steve Gellings commented on the educational aspect of the climb. �We are going to be learning about all these different technologies and components in wind towers. Actually getting the students up there in a real tower really helps them to better understand what we will be working on throughout the program.� funny photos

The climb was assisted by Dave Vrtol, Introduction to Wind Technology instructor and Illinois wind project manager for EcoEnergy. The Mendota Wind Farm is owned and operated by Babcock and Brown Wind Partners, a global wind energy business which owns and operates a portfolio of wind farms spanning six countries and 3 continents.

Highland Community College�s A.A.S. in Wind Turbine Technology was created through a partnership with EcoEnergy. The innovative two-year program looks to address the growing need for wind turbine technicians throughout the region and nation-wide.

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