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These former coal workers are training to be wind technicians

These former coal workers in Wyoming are training to be wind technicians

by Arielle Duhaime-Ross
Oct 4 2017, 11:30am

A Chinese-owned wind turbine company is trying to recruit workers — in the heart of coal country.

Wind turbine technician is the fastest-growing job in the country, but the workforce has yet to top 5,000 nationally. This summer, wind turbine company GoldWind Americas held free seminars in Wyoming, a state that also happens to be the largest coal producer in the U.S., to drum up interest in alternative energy labor.

The sessions were designed to give potential recruits a sense of what it takes to maintain wind turbines for a living. But many of the attendees were ex–coal workers who had lost their jobs in recent years, like Jason Willbanks.

“Last year was a horrible time to be unemployed up here in northeastern Wyoming, for sure,” he told VICE News during one of the seminars.

This segment originally aired Sept. 26, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.