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ISU receives nearly $2 million grant from U.S. Department of Labor

January 2, 2007
ISU Marketing and Communications

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced Idaho State University’s College of Technology as one of 72 recipients receiving a President’s Community Based Job Training Grant. The University will receive $1,996,958 to be used in the development of an Energy Systems Technology and Education Center on the ISU Campus. Idaho State University, the Idaho National Laboratory, and Partners for Prosperity are working collaboratively in this effort.

ISU President Arthur C. Vailas comments, “This award is a reflection of a rapidly developing partnership of Idaho State University with the INL and others in making Idaho a national resource in building America’s energy infrastructure.”
The development of the center on the ISU campus is intended to help offset the growing national shortage of energy-systems technicians. The new program will support the need both regionally and nationally by providing ABET–accredited Associate of Applied Science degrees in energy systems electrical, mechanical, and instrumentation and control disciplines. It also will provide a collaborative environment for ISU, the Idaho National Laboratory and industry partners to conduct applied industrial research on next-generation electrical components and systems.

Goals of the center are to advance science education, provide capable staff to maintain the nation’s electrical infrastructure and to prove and improve the technologies needed to support a modern national electrical distribution system.

“Idaho National Laboratory is extremely pleased to be a supporting partner with ISU and Partners for Prosperity in obtaining this grant. We see the center as offering a tremendous opportunity for the university, our laboratory, and the region,” said INL director John Grossenbacher.

The grant will allow regional economic competitiveness, increase job growth and provide new opportunities for all workers. “This will provide an opportunity to people in our region to pursue training that will move them into jobs that pay a living wage,” said Jessica Sotelo, executive director of Partners for Prosperity. “Our mission is to reduce poverty in eastern Idaho through education, empowerment and economic development.”

Partners for Prosperity played a key role in the community-based aspect of the grant by developing partnerships with educational and economic development programs, veterans, Shoshone-Bannock tribal members, migrant workers and K-12 students.

The center will become a facility where the ISU, the INL and energy-industry partners can collaborate on energy-related, applied industrial research projects. This unique collaboration between education and industry will sustain the center beyond the three-year grant-funding period. Additionally, the center will help promote math and science studies to high school and grade school students to ready them for technical and engineering programs at ISU.

Multiple organizations pledged financial and technical support for the center including; Entergy, Idaho Power, INL, Partners for Prosperity, NIDA Corp. (makers of state-of-the-art electronics training simulators), the Regional Coordinating Council (a coalition of eastern Idaho economic-development organizations), Idaho TechPrep Program, Idaho Migrant Council, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Idaho Department of Commerce and Labor, Idaho State Department of Education Office of Adult Education, Centers for New Directions at both Eastern Idaho Technical College and Idaho State University, Idaho State University TRIO Program (working with “at-risk” student populations), Central Virginia Community College, Idaho School District 25 Gateway Academies, IGNITE (Inspiring Girls Now in Technology Evolution), and Tech Connect East. Letters of support also were received from AREVA, Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership (supporting at-risk populations in preparing for post-secondary studies), and the Idaho Falls Community Outreach Center.

The Energy Systems Technology and Education Center is expected to start in August 2007 on the ISU campus. For more information about this grant and the center, contact Scott Rasmussen, project manager, at (208) 282-3400. You may also contact Richard Holman with the INL at (208) 520-0698 or Jessica Sotelo with Partners for Prosperity at (208) 681-0318.


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