Zoerner sees opportunities for wind energy students

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – One job need that is not going away anytime soon is that of wind energy technician.

Texas State Technical College Wind Energy Technology instructor Patrick Zoerner said that in light of today’s headlines, more people may look to change careers.

“I think what is happening today (with COVID-19) will open up everybody’s eyes,” Zoerner said. “People will be asking themselves, ‘Is this what I want to be doing (careerwise)?’”

The Harlingen campus offers a two-year associate of applied science curriculum in Wind Energy Technology and a three-semester certificate program for wind energy technicians.

“I think we will have a good influx of students coming this fall,” Zoerner said. “I think that it, along with the lineman program we are starting, will be good for the local workforce.”

Zoerner always tells new students they will need to have thick skin to work inside a wind turbine cell. But he also preaches safety “first and foremost.”

“This is not for the faintest of hearts. It is going to be hard work,” he said. “You are going to have to work in the heat. It could be up to 160 degrees in the cell at the top.”

With TSTC temporarily moving to remote classes at this time, Zoerner said current students will have several tasks to complete online, including researching wind energy companies.

He said most of the students had completed climbing requirements prior to this semester.

“It has been a lot of refresher stuff this semester,” Zoerner said of tower climbs. “I had them climb to allow them to go through the cycle on a routine basis. It (the extended spring break) should not really affect us.”

 For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.