by Kate Aitchison
The biofuel production and wind power industries have both experienced a lot of growth in the state in recent years. Both are expected to help lead the way to Minnesota’s greener and more renewable energy future. What are the employment opportunities in these industries? Do you have what employers are looking for? This two-part series by Labor Market Analyst Kate Aitchison explores results from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED’s) semi-annual Job Vacancy Survey and provides ideas on how you can move into these fields. Last week’s installment offered insights on jobs in the biofuels industry. Today’s takes an in-depth looks at jobs in the wind power industry.
Part 2: Wind Power
What are the jobs like?
The wind power industry has been growing steadily in Minnesota over the past years. There are 84 wind farms spread throughout Minnesota where the turbines generate electricity as the wind blows. Additionally, there are construction companies, development professionals and plenty of support and maintenance positions in this field. The Job Vacancy Survey focused on those workers who help operate and maintain wind turbines.
From the 14 companies that responded to the survey, there were 16 job openings reported.
- Seventy-five percent of these vacancies were jobs in installation, repair, and maintenance, with titles like wind turbine technician or lead technician.
- The remaining 25 percent of vacancies were in management and office or administrative positions. Examples of job titles in this category include: land and title manager, bookkeeper, or land acquisition specialist.
What are employers looking for?
Unlike the trends we saw in the biofuels job openings, almost all job openings in the wind power industry require some sort of post-secondary education or training, with almost 70 percent seeking a candidate with some vocational education beyond a high school degree.
Further, all the job openings in this field required some work experience related to the job opening. This meant that for most of the open positions, the candidate needed have some experience working either in the wind industry or in some sort of installation or maintenance position.
Would I be a good fit?
To qualify for a job like this, you need the right educational qualifications and related work experience. Beyond that, you should think about the working conditions (working on wind turbines often means heights), the location of the work (often rural), and the transferrable skills you could bring to the position.