GRCC becomes first GWO-accredited wind safety training provider in U.S.



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications


Oct. 29, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College, along with business partner Safety Technology USA, became the first training provider in the United States to be awarded the globally recognized Global Wind Organization accreditation to deliver basic safety training to wind farm workers.

After an intense independent audit, GRCC has been certified to deliver the four land-based GWO Basic Safety Training modules: working at height, first aid, fire awareness, and manual handling.

“We are proud to be a partner with Safety Technology to ensure the U.S. workforce is ready to work safely at any wind farm in the world," said Julie Parks, GRCC’s director of workforce training.

The internationally recognized Global Wind Organization was set up in 2011 by the wind energy sector’s leading companies in response to the demand for a universal safety standard for working on wind turbines. Already an industry benchmark in the United Kingdom and Europe, the GWO standard has become a must-have for the wind energy workforce throughout the United States.

In 2010, Safety Technology USA partnered with GRCC, led by local employer Rockford Construction, to become the first U.S. training center to offer the globally recognized Safety Technology safety certification program for the wind energy industry. Training takes place at the college’s state-of-the-art Tassell M-TEC facility, 622 Godfrey Ave. SW.

The GWO audit praised GRCC for its ability to offer full indoor work at height training along with a host of other wind energy safety training. GRCC’s safety specialists can also provide these modules on site at pre-approved customer facilities.

“We are proud to be associated with the first fully accredited GWO training provider in the USA, and I am especially pleased with this achievement on behalf of all the team at GRCC involved,” said Bob Dickens, chief executive of Safety Technology USA.

The 90,000-square-foot, $13.3 million Tassell M-TEC provides hands-on technical training in manufacturing, including a world-class metal forming and welding training facility; automobile repair through its 23-bay training facility; and in the construction trades.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.