Educators and administrators at institutions like Texas State Technical College are motivated by a common goal: to prepare our students for rewarding careers and, in doing so, to help them live the lives they want to live. In short, we’re working to help Texas thrive.
I believe that we’re achieving our goal, and I’m proud of both the education we provide and the impact our alumni make in their communities. I also know that our students’ success isn’t guaranteed solely by the education TSTC provides; it’s dependent on the opportunities that exist for our students when they enter the workforce.
In this regard, the Texas wind energy industry has been just what the doctor ordered.
Texas is a wind superpower and now generates more wind power than any other state in America, accounting for 25 percent of total national output. Fifteen percent of Texas’ electricity demands are met by wind power — and that number is growing every year. Scott Dunaway of Powering Texas, a wind-energy advocate coalition that started in December, says the industry is “creating jobs and generating revenue streams for rural Texans that strengthen our communities and provide needed economic opportunities for landowners and local school districts.”
TSTC’s leadership in this field is creating unprecedented opportunity for Texans who are building their careers in one of the nation’s most rapidly growing industries. There are now more than 24,000 wind energy jobs in Texas — good-paying jobs that can enable workers to support their families, put down roots and engage in their communities. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, that number will grow: Wind energy technician is the nation’s second fastest-growing occupation.
Graduates of TSTC’s Wind Energy Technician program enter this booming workforce prepared to conduct efficiency studies; manage personnel, materials and machines; plan equipment layouts and workflow; and much more. In short, our program prepares students to operate and maintain the state’s thousands of turbines, leaving them ready and able to become an active participant in the Texas wind energy boom. And since the wind industry employs veterans at a rate 72 percent higher than the national average, Texans can return home and be proud to find a workforce that puts their vital transferable skills — from leadership and perseverance to hard work and discipline — to work powering our great state.
Wind power is also spurring growth in the manufacturing sector. A typical wind turbine consists of 8,000 distinct components, and the production of those essential components adds up to considerable opportunity for Texas manufacturers. It takes 46 active manufacturing facilities in Texas to provide the wind power sector with the nacelles, blades, bearings and bolts it needs to fuel our economy, and those facilities mean even more opportunity and investment for communities across our state.
Economic opportunity at this scale doesn’t come along every day or without the efforts of thousands of Texans. When it does, it’s important that we — as educators and as members of the community — do all we can to support it. We’re proud of the work we do for our students at Texas State Technical College and excited about the bright future we help our alumni build. Thanks to effective leadership, abundant resources and a capable workforce, wind power will be a big part of that bright future for many years to come.