INDIANAPOLIS — Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana has received a $4.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for smart grid workforce training programs that will help prepare the next generation of workers in the utility and electrical manufacturing industries.
As part of the grant, Ivy Tech will partner with Purdue University to develop the Crossroads Smart Grid Training Program (CSTP). To ensure the institutions address central issues in the workforce-education gap in Indiana, the CSTP will draw on many long-standing partnerships with the energy sector in both the private and public domain.
These partners include the Energy Systems Network, an initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership focused on building Indiana’s clean technology industry. ESN will support the universities’ efforts to ensure the programs and curricula that emerge from the CSTP are aligned with existing and emerging industry needs, working with utilities, the developers and manufacturers of smart grid equipment and technologies, regulatory agencies and other stakeholders.
Ivy Tech will serve as the lead institution while both groups will develop and deliver modules, courses and certificates in various areas of Smart Grid technologies, including systems management and security, information technology and power systems engineering, and the training of skilled workers including line workers, technicians and mechanics. Ivy Tech will offer associate degrees in these new fields, while Purdue will offer bachelor’s degree programs in both engineering and technology. It is estimated the funds will help train 1,500 students for the new smart grid programs.
This project will help lead the way toward renewable power and energy with trained operators, technicians, engineers and research scientists from college degree and certificate programs, identified as necessary by Indiana’s energy business sector.
“This new grant will help Indiana employ new workers as well as train displaced workers for the jobs of the future,” said Ivy Tech President Thomas J. Snyder. “We will be able to put hundreds of people into new jobs and we will help local employers fulfill their need for qualified, skilled workers in this growing field of smart grid technologies. In addition, it will bring much needed, upgraded technology services to many Indiana communities.”
“With our existing industry base in the cleantech and energy sectors, and the willingness of these firms to work together to bring innovation to market, Indiana has great potential to outpace the nation in green job creation,” added Paul Mitchell, President & CEO of ESN. “The challenge is preparing our workforce to take advantage of these opportunities, and meet the needs of industry. We’re pleased to work with Ivy Tech and Purdue to make sure Hoosiers can capitalize on these exciting careers.”
The nationwide projects will leverage more than $95 million in funding from community colleges, universities, utilities and manufacturers to develop and implement training programs. It is estimated that the programs will train approximately 30,000 Americans nationwide. These workers will help modernize the nation’s electrical grid and implement smart grid technologies in communities across the country. Ivy Tech received the 4th largest gift of the 54 grants awarded nationwide.
The projects, which are being funded through the Recovery Act, will provide workforce training programs to non-traditional energy workers such as women and minorities, in addition to new hires, including displaced workers and military veterans as well as retraining programs for electric utility workers and electrical equipment manufacturers to further enhance their knowledge of smart grid technologies and their implementation. The projects will help ensure utilities and manufacturers have the necessary trained workforce to support the ongoing smart grid deployment projects, including Smart Grid Investment Grants and Demonstration Projects funded under the Recovery Act.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech is the state’s largest public post-secondary institution and the nation’s largest singly-accredited statewide community college system with more than 150,000 students enrolled annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.