Wind Energy - Economic Development

 Over the past three years, Iowa has led the nation in attracting wind energy manufacturers, in part because of its innovative worker training programs.

Through collaboration with the wind energy industry, the state and its universities and community colleges, students are learning the skills needed to succeed in today’s wind industry.

Clipper Windpower in Cedar Rapids and Acciona in West Branch are some of the companies that have benefited from these programs that give them access to skilled workers.

Tyler Glass, Pro E Designer at Clipper Windpower and a 2008 Kirkwood Community College graduate, is an example of Iowa’s homegrown training.

“The transition from graduating at Kirkwood and coming to work for Clipper was pretty seamless. Within my first week at Clipper, I was able to jump into a project,” Glass said.

The availability of a skilled work force and access to wind-industry education and training programs has enabled ACCIONA to build a talented pool of more than 120 employees at its plant in West Branch.

The Wind Energy and Turbine Technology Program at Iowa Lakes Community College is another example of Iowa’s focus on training the wind energy work force of tomorrow. Iowa Lakes’ program is one of only three programs in the nation to receive a Wind Turbine Service Technician Program Seal of Approval from the American Wind Energy Association.

The wind energy industry is just one of many industry sectors to benefit from Iowa’s unique work force training initiatives. The Iowa Department of Economic Development and the state’s network of community colleges have a variety of programs to help new and existing businesses train workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Iowa’s employee training programs have evolved from a business expansion incentive tool into a comprehensive, targeted human resource tool available to all Iowa businesses.

Training programs highlighted below:

Iowa Industrial New Jobs
This program provides eligible businesses which are expanding and creating new jobs in the Iowa workforce with customized training delivered through Iowa's 15 community colleges.

Iowa Jobs Training Program
Meeting the needs of upskilling the talents and resources of Iowa's current workforce, this program works with eligible businesses through their local Iowa community college to assess workforce training needs and to deliver training.

Information Technology Training Program
The rapidly changing and evolving nature of the industry, information technology firms and departments must rapidly develop, retool, refine, and broaden the skills of their existing workers. The IT training program provides flexible and quickly accessed funds for IT companies and departments to upgrade the technical skills of their employees.

Hi Craig,

Hope all is well.  I thought this might be of interest for a post or story. Let me know if you have any thoughts.


Juan Niño
For the Iowa Department of Economic Development
Interesting topic, Juan. I will post it on my blog.