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      Harlingen's TSTC starts wind energy program

      Texas State Technical College is proud to be setting the tone when it comes to wind power.

      The Harlingen college will be offering a Wind Energy Technology Program starting in August.

      Administrators said it will provide skills to students to apply to the repair and maintenance of wind energy equipment as well as the assembly of parts and components to build wind turbines.

      The green energy turbines have been popping up all over South Texas.

      Dave Ralph with TSTC's Marketing Department said the Harlingen school is excited to spread the news to current and future students.

      "We are the only college in South Texas to offer this program," Ralph said.

      TSTC officials hope to give their students the opportunity to blow past the competition when they enter the real world.

      "We're looking to capitalize on those opportunities that will generate jobs for graduates in this program," Dave Ralph said.

      With an instructor who has worked in the energy industry for 30 years, TSTC hopes to advance their energy saving efforts while saving students money.

      "We received a grant of about $240,000 from the Department of Energy to start this, $75,000 will go to free student tuition to the students who qualify for that aid," Ralph said.

      There are currently three wind farms operating in South Texas and the companies plan to double the South Texas wind energy production.

      Two more wind farms are in the planning stages for the region which means more jobs for the students who learn to make the turbines function properly.

      "We are members of the Wind Alliance which involves a lot of the companies in the Corpus Christi area and companies like Shell and Exxon," Ralph said.

      Applications for summer semester are under way; registration for the Wind Energy Technology Program will begin May 10.

      New Student Orientation is mandatory for first-time TSTC students. The first set of Wind Energy Technology online classes will be available May 24 and completion of the summer semester courses is scheduled for August 20.

      Instructor Enrique Carrillo suggested that prospective students contact him (800) 852-8784 extension 4729 or (956) 364-4729 or email him at or for early advisement.

      Vice President for Student Learning Al Guillen also advises wind energy students. He's at (956) 364-4602 or