Francis Tuttle teaching wind turbines to ironworkers
Ironworkers are learning the ropes on wind turbines at Francis Tuttle Technology Center. It's the type of program officials hope will help Oklahoma into a beacon for energy education.
Officials at Francis Tuttle Technology Center are doing their part to make Oklahoma into the nation's mecca for energy education.
"It's where our state needs to be," said Marvin Fowler, director of Francis Tuttle's campus at 3500 NW 150.
Francis Tuttle already has established itself as a place to come for training wind turbine technicians.
Earl Bailey, training coordinator for business and industry services at Francis Tuttle, said more than 200 people have passed through the school's certification programs.
The beginner course is now in its third year. Francis Tuttle also offers a scaled-down course for ironworkers, thanks to a collaboration with the Iron Workers Union.
The ironworker course runs 36 hours over four days, rather than 175 hours for the introductory class, because the students already have unique qualifications.
It is open only to journeymen ironworkers with at least three years of field experience and requisite safety and first aid training.
Ironworkers have erected wind turbines for years, but increased scrutiny of the industry means they now have to be properly certified to work on such projects.
Bailey said ironworkers earn a certificate from Francis Tuttle for completing the wind turbine technician course, but the ones from globally recognized third parties are more important to employers.
"To get on the job site, they have to have those certificates," he said.
The first two days of the class are focused on tower safety and rescue training, using a mock tower at Francis Tuttle's Portland campus. The names of those who have completed the training are written on one wall of the tower.
The remainder of the class teaches the basics of the fasteners used in wind turbines, along with mechanical, electronic and hydraulic torque knowledge. Safety is also a key component of that portion of the course.
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