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LCCC receives $900,000 National Science Foundation grant

Friday, July 09, 2010
The grant will be used to develop core competencies other colleges can use to develop their own renewable energy education programs.
 
Laramie County Community College’s ongoing relationship with the National Science Foundation and the college’s dedication to wind energy education have been recognized with an Advanced Technological Education grant. On Wednesday, it was announced that LCCC will receive $900,000 from the National Science Foundation over the next three years. LCCC Grants Facilitator Mimi Hull indicated that LCCC’s reputation with the NSF was a huge factor in obtaining this grant.

The grant will bring a diverse group of academic, government and industry representatives together to develop core competencies in renewable energy fields. Those core competencies will be used by LCCC and other colleges and universities to refine the programs of study that are supporting this industry’s rapid expansion – the LCCC program will serve as a national renewable energy education model.

The grant also will be used to design career pathways to help both traditional and nontraditional students chart their courses to successful employment in the renewable energy industries. At LCCC, the grant will be used to explore additional programs in renewable and alternative technologies to augment LCCC's existing Integrated Systems Technology and Wind Energy programs.

Many other schools from across the nation have already shown interest in using the competencies to plan programs of their own.

“It’s a huge benefit for LCCC, as well as for other colleges around the nation,” says Ed Olson, LCCC’s Integrated Systems Technology program director. “We can take our Integrated Systems Technology curriculum and standardize it to help other schools develop their own curricula based on those core competencies we identify. It blends nicely with what we’re doing in Career and Technical Education.”

The first step is to enhance the core competencies through industry-driven, performance-based standards and a team-based, problem-solving learning model incorporating STEM – a partnership across Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics departments.

“This grant will allow us to work with experts we wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to interact with,” Olson said. “It’ll give us notice for our programs on a national level.”