Smart Careers to Power the Nation


by Rachel Vilsack

You’ve probably heard about smart phones, but do you know about “smart grid” technology? Essentially how we transmit and distribute electricity can be monitored and adjusted so that the distribution of energy can be most efficient. Smart grid technology also promotes the use of renewable energy sources. As utilities continue to evolve, they’ll need workers who understand this smart technology.

 

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Green Career Spotlight: Wind Farm Developer


by Lisa Thompson

Developing a wind farm involves a lot of groundwork before the first turbine goes up. Wind developers must assess the topography and geography of the land to determine the strength of the wind for turbine placement. They also need to "sell" the project to local landowners and work with energy utilities to build transmission lines and interconnections with the existing power grid.

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Why Me, Why Now? (A Career in Energy)


by Kathy Kirchoff

More college students are becoming interested in clean energy careers largely due to concerns over the environment. Science and engineering are becoming hot topics on campuses. Many students have grown up hearing about our dependency on foreign oil, the war in Iraq, and rising gas prices, and want to be part of changing these issues.

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STEM-ing the Tide


by Lisa Thompson

In past several years, you might have hard the buzz around encouraging students to pursue STEM disciplines in college. “STEM” simply stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Within these four broad categories are a diverse range of fields in agricultural, biological science, computer science, engineering, mathematics, physical science, and technology.

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Running With the Wind: Trends in the Wind Energy Industry


by Cameron Macht

Recently, labor market analyst Kate Aitchison reviewed job vacancy survey findings in the biofuels and wind energy industries.  Today, Cameron Macht, labor market analyst for the Central and Southwest Minnesota region, takes a more in-depth look at trends that are driving employment growth in the wind energy industry—both statewide and in southwest Minnesota.

 

By most measures, Minnesota is a national leader in the wind energy industry. Minnesota ranks first in the percentage of its electricity generated from wind, has the fourth-largest amount of installed wind power capacity, and has the ninth-highest wind energy potential in the U.S. As the industry continues to grow, there will be more opportunities for jobseekers.

 

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Jobs in the Wind Power Industry


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.

 

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Jobs in the Biofuels Industry


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.  Today’s installment takes an in-depth looks at jobs in the biofuels industry.  Next week’s will offer insights on jobs in the wind energy production industry.

 

Part 1: Biofuels

 

What are the jobs like? 

Biofuels refer to transportation fuels made from organic materials.  The most common biofuel is ethanol, a fuel usually made from corn.  Biodiesel is the other main biofuel, and it is typically made from soybeans or other natural oils.   

 

Jobs in these types of plants are similar to those in other manufacturing settings, with the majority of people working in production facilities. Minnesota has 21 ethanol plants and 5 plants that make biodiesel. These 26 locations had an average of 18 job openings when they were surveyed over the past two years. Most of the people working in this field were offered wages between $49,000 and $55,000 per year. 

 

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