Cloud Co. Comm. College Receives $110,000 Grant From Dept. of Commerce

Cloud County Community College’s Renewable Energy Technology program has received a $110,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce for development of a wind and solar satellite training program in southeast Kansas.

Cloud County’s wind and solar classes will be offered at the Allen County Rural Regional Technology Center, located near LaHarpe in southeast Kansas.

The Jobs and Innovative Industry Skills Training Grant, administered through the Kansas Department of Commerce, will be matched by Cloud County.

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“Cloud County Community College is excited to provide high school students the opportunity to be prepared to enter the wind or solar industry after high school,” said Nancy Zenger-Beneda, vice president for academic affairs at Cloud County. “We’re very appreciative of our partners that are helping make this program possible.”

Last year, EDP Renewables North America presented a $150,000 donation toward the project. The Allen County Economic Development group also contributed $100,000 for the training programs.

Four area high schools currently send students interested in technical education to the Tech Center for training classes. Fort Scott Community College offers Construction Technology, Neosho Community College offers Welding Technology, and Cloud County will begin offering Wind Energy and Solar Energy Technology courses beginning in August 2019. Area graduates can also enroll in any of these classes.

At the Tech Center, students will have the opportunity to enroll in classes that will train students to become employed in the wind and solar energy industries.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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