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Creating opportunities for women in wind energy

By   Erin Wood

When Avangrid Renewables starts a wind farm, it places high priority on excellence in all areas. The company also wants to ensure a quality workforce and opportunities for those seeking careers in the wind energy sector.

That’s why Avangrid Renewables is supporting women seeking to become wind energy technicians at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, ND.

This year Mashana Washington is the recipient of that award.

Always drawn to careers that don’t have many women, Washington was working in welding when she heard a presentation from Lake Region State College Wind Energy instructor Jay Johnson.

“He showed what a great career this is. I work with my hands and enjoy doing things most women don’t, even though they can,” she said.

A native of Virginia, she soon was at LRSC after Johnson’s presentation with the goal of earning her associate of applied science degree in Wind Energy Technology. She was thrilled with the program from the first day.

“I love the program. It’s hands-on, which works so well as we learn the trade,” she said.

Adding to the love of the program was being selected for the Avangrid Renewables scholarship supporting future female wind technicians.

“I’m so glad a company like Avangrid Renewables invests in students like me,” Washington said. “Most women can do these jobs and it’s motivating that companies support women in these careers.”

Washington will complete her associate’s degree in May and then she hopes to land a job in her newfound career field.

“I’m willing to expand and travel and start my career and also be a role model and advocate for women looking at careers in these fields. There are so many opportunities and employers willing to work with you.”

Lake Region State College is a student-centered, open-access, comprehensive community college within the North Dakota University System. Its Wind Energy Technician program is the most comprehensive degree program in North Dakota and surrounding states. Lake Region State College provides quality academic education, vocational/technical training, workforce training, educational outreach opportunities, and life-long learning.