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PFI: An Innovative Model for a New Advanced Energy Workforce

This Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) project is a Type III (A:C) partnership between University of Toledo, an NSF PFI graduate (0227899), and several institutions new to the PFI Program (defined as ones that have never been PFI grantees): Central State University, Hocking College, Lakeland Community College, Owens Community College, and Terra Community College. The project seeks to create a model for developing courses, certification programs, stackable certificates, and associate degree programs throughout the State of Ohio in advanced energy. Ohio universities, under the leadership of the Governor?s Energy Advisor, banded together to form the University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio in 2007 to promote advanced energy research. In addition, the state has leading alternative energy companies and a renewable energy portfolio standard that promise job opportunities for the future. A ready and trained workforce is needed to support renewable energy companies as well as trained and ready trades people to install solar, wind, and other systems. The project involves university research and incubation centers to provide guidance for the development of new courses and programs in anticipation of the development and commercialization of new energy systems (e.g., rooftop building integrated PV systems. The project will bring new knowledge on advanced energy technologies to community and technical colleges so that new courses and programs can be developed. It will develop a statewide model for university engagement to transform an "old industrial region" into a leader in a new technology intensive industry. The project draws upon the experience of a previously successful PFI project as well as the statewide support of the primary organizational partner, University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio. The project aims to take Ohio universities toward a more "developmental role" in transforming the statewide economy and creating high paying job opportunities. The project involves Central State University, an HBCU, and gives special attention to developing opportunities for participation of underrepresented groups. The results of the project will be broadly disseminated in Ohio and nationally through presentations, press releases, involvement of state leaders, and professional and technical publications. Partners at the inception of the project are Academic Institutions: University of Toledo (lead institution), Central State University, Hocking College, Lakeland Community College, Owens Community College, Terra Community College, and Bowling Green State University; Private Sector (Industry) : Advanced Energy Generation, Engineered Process Systems, FirstEnergy, First Solar, North Coast Wind and Power, Solar Fields (Calyxo), WIRE-Net (Great Lakes Wind Network) and Xunlight; Private Sector (Non Profit): University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio; and State Government: Ohio Board of Regents.

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