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Schools partner with G.E. to be ready for wind energy boom | News

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Schools partner with G.E. to be ready for wind energy boom
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MALTA - High school juniors are learning the ins and outs of wind turbines.

"This oil is going to get really, really hot," a professor from Hudson Valley Community College tells the students as he gives them a tour of a 1.5 megawatt turbine.

It's not a field trip, it's a college-level course. Part of the curriculum at H.V.C.C.'s Malta Tec-Smart campus.

General Electric donated a couple of turbines to the school at a cost of about 400-thousand dollars.

Kids learning how wind turbines work has a dual benefit. They can land a job in what's expected to be an exploding field.

"Over the next ten years, wind energy will be generating more than 100-thousand jobs, so students there are great opportunities for you," says Dr. Andrew Matonak, president of the college.

And GE, a global leader in wind energy turbines, can fill the positions it will need.

But those jobs won't necessarily be here in the Capital Region.

"New York state today has less than two percent of its power generated by wind turbines," says Dan Lance, global training leader for GE Energy Renewables.

S SSs"So if we can get that going where we have more turbines located locally, have more renewable energy portfolio standards and push for that, then those opportunities will exist."

Ballston Spa high school sends juniors and seniors here, allowing them to earn up to 25 college credits. The idea is to give them a head start on the competition.

"I think it's kind of special that we get the chance as juniors and seniors to have this to be able to start early," says Dominique Helwig, a junior interested in engineering.

The school superintendent says the "green" jobs will be there when these students are ready to take them, but only if they're qualified.

"The jobs are only going to grow, not just from our region. I think you're going to see it throughout the state," says Dr. Joe Dragone, superintendent of Ballston Spa Schools.

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