Learning about wind and solar energy will be an option for high schoolers enrolled in Crowder College’s Green Technology and Design Program.

Learning about wind and solar energy will be an option for high schoolers enrolled in Crowder College’s Green Technology and Design Program.

The two-year program is one of 10 offered by the Crowder College Technical Education Center (CCTEC).

Combining the existing drafting program with a new emphasis on solar and wind technologies will give students options. Biofuels may be added to the program later.

Drafting and design instructor Kevin Newby is hoping to give students a taste of many possibilities instead of focusing exclusively on drafting or pre-engineering.

“What we really want to accomplish is to bring in basic level classes for each of those areas,” Newby told the board of trustees during last week’s meeting. “In any of those areas, they’re still going to need to do blueprinting, drafting and we still are going to be giving them the basic drawing plans.”

During the first year of the program, students will learn about solar energy — both photovoltaic and solar thermal technology applications. They will learn about engineering, drafting and architecture. While drawing from alternative energy examples, they will be introduced to wind as a power source.

In the second year, students will concentrate on solar thermal applications, technical drawing, basic civil drafting and finding the right site for wind farms and solar structures. Instructors say they may expand the program to touch on home inspection, energy audits, hydraulics, pneumatics, rigging and safety issues.

 Dr. Brad Tyndall, dean of instruction, said creating the blended program was a synergistic thing.

“You kill two birds with one stone by embedding energy into the drafting experience,” Tyndall said.
The state has taken an interest in the program, and Crowder has already received praise from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Although they did not start enrolling students until late in the spring, all parties involved in the program agreed that there has been a healthy response.  Ken Rhuems, associate dean and director of technical education, said although there may be some flux in enrollment numbers over the summer he hopes to have 18 or 20 students in the program come fall.

“Really it came about at the end of our recruiting process where as the high school folks were bringing in the sophomores and giving them information,” Rhuems said. “To see the numbers increase that we did as far as pre-enrollment was real encouraging.”

The program is the first of its type in Missouri.

Newby said drafting may be seeing less student and state interest, but the new technologies will give students an edge into jobs expected to boom in the future.

The classes will not count as dual-credit under the current system, but will be on an articulation basis.