(RNN) - A Chinese manufacturing company is offering free training for U.S. coal miners - so long as they are looking to become wind farmers.
Goldwind Americas, an arm of a Chinese wind-turbine manufacturer, has been looking for workers to take permanent jobs on the Wyoming wind farms they supply.
According to The New York Times, the company announced plans for a free training program for one of the United States' fastest-growing jobs: the wind farm technician.
The program is aimed at former coal miners who are having trouble finding work, as well as professionals from other industries. It's called "Goldwind Works," and will begin next month with a series of informational seminars and safety training at a wind farm in Montana.
Goldwind Americas has an agreement to supply nearly 850 wind turbines to a site in Wyoming, where the state's first coal mine opened a century ago. After construction is finished, up to 200 workers will be needed to work at the plant.
Chief Executive David Halligan said he expected coal workers and other applicants to have relevant experience in electrical and mechanical capacities. He also asked that those applying be comfortable with working under difficult conditions.
“If we can tap into that market and also help out folks that might be experiencing some challenges in the work force today, I think that it can be a win-win situation,” Halligan said. “If you’re a wind technician, you obviously can’t be afraid of heights."
Hundreds of coal miners in Wyoming were laid off last year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the national employment for miners and geological engineers will grow by 6 percent over the next decade, while those working in wind energy will enjoy a growth rate of 108 percent.
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