Online, internet-based training for wind technicians work on wind farms

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: 2010-00414
Amount: $89,483.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.6
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
101 COMMERCIAL WAY, Tehachapi, CA, 93561
DUNS: 016328902
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jeff Duff
 President, COO
 () -
Business Contact
 Lisa Gilbert
Title: Vice President of Academic Affairs
Phone: () -
Research Institution
The Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Rural Development have identified development of alternative energy as a top priority. In light of this important policy priority, the Department of Energy's technical report, 20% Wind Energy by 2030, projects an exploding demand for wind energy-related workers. Regarding wind development, on average, one technician is needed for every 10 wind turbines. Representatives of the American Wind Energy Association have documented the rapid rise of wind turbine installations and noted that "The training for wind technicians needs to keep up."Early stage workforce development and training paradigms for wind technicians will need to undergo significant change if the workforce needs are to be met. Workforce training practice and culture within the wind industry is driven by a relatively small number of experts with deep field experience and knowledge. The current training methodology is dominated by face-to-face, classroom-based, instructor present training. Thus, the industry is faced with the challenge of expanding explicit knowledge and developing dissemination strategies/processes that can transfer this explicit knowledge to far greater numbers of learners (workforce) in more efficient ways. Most community and technical college programs require one to two-year residencies with all the typical related costs of tuition, housing, family separation, and lost work-related income. Airstreams Renewables Inc. (ARI) has designed and successfully delivered since 2003 safety-focused and skills-based training that places wind technicians into the field in approximately one month. Outcomes of the integration of online, virtual training into current traditional, classroom-based programs would include changes in knowledge, action and conditions. The online training would allow greater flexibility in the training demands of the wind industry, as well as reducing financial costs related to dislocation (travel, lodging costs, time away from work, etc.). Developing online training for entry-level wind turbine technicians would also assist in the training of the rapidly expanding workforce, address the special needs of students, and help to reduce the limitations of current training methodologies.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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