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Wind Energy Fuels Job Hopes for Oklahoma Youth

In the final installment of her Generation Next series, which has aired on both the NewsHour and NPR, Judy Woodruff reports on how wind energy is generating new career prospects for young Americans in the Sooner State.

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    Now the final in my series of reports on Generation Next.

    Over the past month, I've been examining how young people are coping with the recession. Tonight we end with two young men who think they have found a field which will keep them employed and engaged for a long time to come.


    It'll hold you. It's not going to fail.


    Twenty-three-year-old Nathan Wright has his eye on the sky and the future. After realizing he didn't want to be pushing papers all day or entering the industry his state of Oklahoma has long been known for — oil and gas — he decided to pursue a different path.

    He entered a technology program at Oklahoma State University focusing on wind turbines, as they pronounce it locally.


    We can't always depend on oil. There's been booms, there's been busts with the oil industry. You don't know when the next one is, for a boom. You don't know when the next bust is, either.

    But wind industry looks like it's going to be something that's going to be a constant. You know, the wind never really stops blowing in Oklahoma. It's always windy here.

  • PERFORMER (singing):

    Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain…


    In fact, as the 1955 movie "Oklahoma!" suggests, the 10th-windiest state is very appealing to national and international wind companies because of the central position in the heart of the wind corridor.


    I actually saw a thing on the news Friday evening. Monday morning, I went straight to Dr. Nielsen's office at the OSU campus, was discussing with him about what the classes were going to be, how they were going to go, and what the future would be for me as a student in that industry.

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