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WINDSday field trip educates students about Hampton Roads' progressing energy industry

Posted at 11:08 AM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 17:57:39-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – High school students from Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach got the opportunity on Wednesday to take a field trip to the future site of the nation’s first wind turbine blade coating plant. It’s scheduled to be built by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal.

The students are part of the Career and Technical Education program and are specifically in welding classes.

Joel Rubin, director of the WINDSdays campaign, says CTE students from other cities will have the opportunity to take the tour in the fall.

The high schoolers rode in coaches by Rapid Overland Xpress, known as The ROX. The ROX is known mostly for taking business travelers between Washington, D.C., and Virginia Beach. The company donated the transportation for the field trip.

After a tour of the marine terminal, participants went to the Tidewater Community College campus at Portsmouth, where they enjoyed lunch and listened to presentations from educators and industry leaders including speakers from the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, the Virginia Port Authority, and Dominion Energy.

"We’re talking thousands of well-paying, family sustaining jobs that will be based right here in Hampton Roads," said Christina Brooks, senior director of special projects for the Hampton Roads Workforce Council. "Everything from skilled trade positions such as welding and structural fitting all the way to engineers and accountants."

Rubin told News 3 that the teens should be treated like superstars. He talked about the importance of sustainable energy and how the next generation should be educated about the opportunities coming to Hampton Roads.

Related: Hampton Roads students channel their energy into sustainable energy in wind, solar competition