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Colorado Hopes To Capitalize On Renewable Energy Job Growth

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Solar panels (credit: CBS)

Solar panels (credit: CBS)

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)- Colorado hopes to capitalize on job growth in one industry that’s already hiring- renewable energy.

“There’s so much potential in this business,” said Red Rocks Community College student Diane Crawley. “There’s just so much opportunity. It’s incredible. There are just so many jobs in this field.”

Over the past 10 years, Colorado’s green industry has received nearly $800 million in venture capital money and $300 million in federal funds.

The renewable energy program at Red Rocks has doubled its courses and students since 2009.

Students can get hands-on experience in everything from wind energy to solar thermal to solar photo-voltaic technology.

“All our instructors also work in the business so they can stay up on all the latest technologies. They bring that info and share it with the students,” said Red Rocks Community College instructor Troy Wanek.

In Dec. 2010, Colorado received $75 million in energy manufacturing funds from the Department of Energy.

Students are hoping to get in on the ground floor of the new energy economy.

“I’m pretty sure everybody is going to get into sooner or later and if we get in it from the beginning, we’ll be much better off from a career standpoint,” said Red Rocks Community College student Zack Fisher.

“The opportunities are huge and should continue for over 50 years,” said Wanek.

Arapahoe Community College in Littleton also offers classes in green tech education.

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