MU receives grant to teach energy efficiency

The grant would impact about 480 Missouri workers.

MU received almost $4 million of a $6 million grant to the Missouri Division of Workforce to teach displaced workers skills for employment in the energy sector, according to an MU news release.

The three-year grant would allow the university to establish teaching programs for workers seeking jobs in solar, wind and geothermal energy.

"One of the goals of this program is to create an integrated system of education, training and supportive services leading to employment supporting Missouri's emerging energy technology needs," project leader William Miller said in the news release. "This is the focus of our work under the new grant."

MU will collaborate with several community colleges, including Linn State Technical College, St. Charles Community College, St. Louis Community College and Crowder College. The university is also working with state agencies, including the Missouri Division of Workforce Development and the Missouri Energy Workforce Consortium.

"More efficient use of existing energy resources and the implementation of more sustainable energy technologies are good for the country and the economy as we move forward," said Miller, a nuclear engineering professor.

In addition to teaching skills to displaced workers, MU and the two-year schools collaborating on the project will focus on programs for teaching students. According to the news release, the project's educational programs will be available for use by other schools as a model for creating similar programs.

"The team will review the curriculum currently used to prepare individuals for renewable energy and energy efficiency occupations," Research Reactor Project Director Gayla Neumeyer said. "Once we know what exists and what new knowledge is required for the sustainable energy and energy efficiency occupations, we can create a streamlined path for students."

The grant from the Department of Labor is part of $190 million distributed to teach workers skills to break into the fields of renewable energies and energy efficiency. The grant is sent through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. According to the news release, the grant will directly affect about 480 Missouri workers and educate others through the new programs.

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