Recruiting students for renewable energy jobs

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Renewable energy is shaping the future and companies are looking for the manpower to do it.

More than a thousand students with resumes in hand were eager to meet more than 100 vendors at a career fair at the School of Mines and Technology.

With plenty of students pursuing environmental engineering, renewable energy companies are looking for young minds now.

After a small town in Colorado was hit with a natural disaster, a student found herself wanting to create solutions for the future.

"In 2013, a large flood came through my hometown and destroyed a lot. And I was able to watch the rebuild and reconstruction of like the flood plains," Naomi Weimer, a second-year civic engineer major and environmental engineer minor, said.

Renewable energy plays a key role in South Dakota.

According the the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 70 percent of the state's net energy generation in 2018 came from renewable resources.

Blattner Energy, a Minnesota construction company who offers clean energy services, is contributing to the effort.

"What we do is we provide affordable clean energy to consumers that supports the environment. So that's very important not only for the environment, also it's creating jobs all over the country as well," Angela Vance, a Blattner Energy corporate recruiter, said.

It helps create jobs for people like Robert Apedaile. He is a Rapid City man who got his start at the same college and same career fair.

He said some small communities can show a little push back at times with the industrial change.

But "they see us move in and the actual economic impact that we have on a lot of these smaller communities people really start to see the value of actually having us there," Apedaile, a field engineer, said.

It's the value that one student does not want to see go away.

"If we want to keep this planet good and healthy, this stuff is what's going to do it," Austin Roth, a second-year civil engineer major, said.