News and Notes

A Newsletter for Faculty and Staff of Idaho State University

February 1, 2010 — Vol. 26 No. 5

ESTEC Receives $1.5 million in Renewable Energy Grants

Graduates of the ESTEC program, Ethan Browning and Devin Mecham, explain their class project to Andy Klein from Idaho National Laboratory.

Idaho State Universityís Energy Systems Technology and Education Center (ESTEC) will receive $1.5 million in renewable energy grants through the U.S. Department of Laborís Green Jobs Program as authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The grants are part of the total $6 million awarded to the Idaho Department of Labor and its partners.

Of the $1.5 million, a portion will be used to create and provide a nine-month renewable energy technician program. Students completing the program will be certified as renewable energy technicians. With additional classes, they can receive an Associate of Applied Science degree in wind engineering or mechanical engineering technology or pursue a Bachelor of Applied Science degree.

ESTEC will start offering the renewable energy program in fall 2011.

Eastern Idaho Technical College (EITC) was awarded approximately $133,000 to develop a one-year electronics certificate program that will feed students into ESTEC for their second year of hands-on laboratory training in instrumentation and control systems. This award is the culmination of a year of planning and collaboration between the two institutions.

Richard Holman, INL Energy Workforce Initiatives Manager and Deputy Director of ESTEC said, "The collaboration between ISUís ESTEC and EITC is an outstanding effort on the part of both schools. Providing pathways into energy careers for students in eastern Idaho as well as several surrounding states will be well facilitated by the partnering of these two great learning institutions."

"Since coming to Eastern Idaho Technical College I have worked to foster cooperation among the institutions of higher education," stated Burton Waite, EITC president. "This is an example of what can be accomplished with these cooperative efforts."

ESTEC was established in 2007 by ISU, Idaho National Laboratory and Partners for Prosperity to address the growing shortage of work-ready maintenance and operations technicians in fossil fuels, nuclear power and renewable energy. This public/private partnership was funded with $2.5 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Science Foundation with an additional $1.1M from the State of Idaho.

ESTEC currently offers four Associate of Applied Science degrees: Energy Systems Instrumentation and Controls Engineering Technology; Energy Systems Electrical Engineering Technology; Energy Systems Mechanical Engineering Technology; and Energy Systems Wind Engineering Technology.

"ESTECís industry partners actively support these programs. Graduates enter energy sector employment as highly qualified technicians. This grant will provide resources to meet the labor market needs for renewable energy," stated Dr. Marilyn Davis, ISU College of Technology dean.