New NSF Grant Awarded to Train Workforce in Renewable Energy

Maricopa Community Colleges’ Mesa Community College (MCC) announces that The MCC Electronics Program will participate in a newly awarded $900,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop renewable energy courses.

The effort is called the Arizona-Texas Consortium for Alternative and Renewable Energy Technologies Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Project and involves a partnership consisting of education, industry, and government organizations that include the Austin Community College, Mesa Community College, Pima Community College, Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus, the State of Arizona, Austin Energy, Arizona Public Service, BP Solar, Georgetown Utility Systems, Global Solar Energy, Tucson Electric Power, Salt River Project, Southwest Gas, and Trico Electric Cooperative, Inc. The proposed strategy of the ATE project is to meet workforce needs by increasing the number of graduates, including underprivileged groups, who will complete AAS degrees, certificate programs, and BS degrees. The project will foster the development of a nationally recognized 2+2+2 bachelor’s degree in Alternative and Renewable Energy Technologies. Students will be educated in world-class facilities such as ASU’s Alternative Energy and Photovoltaic Lab. The ASU lab is one of only three accredited labs in the world and the only lab in the U.S. to test and certify photovoltaic modules for design qualification. In addition, the ATE project will create industry internships, provide training to improve the skills of the existing workforce, offer professional development activities to teachers in grades 9-16, and serve as a nationwide and statewide public-awareness vehicle. “This is a very exciting grant that will benefit the entire community,” said JD Neglia, program director of MCC’s Electronics Technology Program. “There is a tremendous push these days for alternative and renewable energy systems. We see the need for workers with this experience, and that, along with an aging utilities workforce nearing retirement age, creates a tremendous opportunity for graduates.”
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