Career Education in Renewable Energy Technology

National Science Foundation/Department of Undergraduate Education (NSF/DUE 1205015) 2012-2015 Principal Investigator: Kenneth A. Walz, Ph.D.

This project provided renewable energy expertise to two-year college and high school instructors around the country, while creating model career pathways that give students broad skill sets and flexibility in tough and unpredictable labor markets. The project accomplished this goal through two major activities: 1. The project expanded the CERET Train the Trainer Renewable Energy Academies to serve a larger, more diverse number of faculty from a wider variety of schools. While focusing on the core areas of solar electricity and bioenergy, the depth of offerings was increased to include advanced topics (e.g. 2nd and 3rd generation biofuels, PV code compliance, and battery based solar systems). By the conclusion of the project, the CERET Renewable Energy Academies had trained over 300 teachers from 42 states and 3 U.S. Territories. As of 2016, these teachers collectively had used the content and pedagogy learned in the CERET academies to teach over 40,000 students about renewable energy technology. 2. The project also evolved the CERET renewable energy certificate into three independent academic credentials in solar electricity, wind, and bioenergy in response to national trends and regional needs. The new certificates offered by Madison Area Technical College were designed with tighter connections to the workforce, and served as national models for educational programming in these subject areas.

Career Education in Renewable Energy Technology

National Science Foundation/Department of Undergraduate Education (NSF/DUE 0903293) 2009-2012 Principal Investigator: Kenneth A. Walz, Ph.D.

This project developed partnerships among academic, industry, and government stakeholders to deliver cutting-edge renewable energy education for the existing and future technician workforce. Through this project, CERET expanded Madison College’s Renewable Energy Certificate to reach a larger number of students, thereby satisfying a national need for flexible delivery courses in renewable energy. CERET also launched a series of Train the Trainer Academies to help grow the next generation of renewable energy two-year college and high school educators. These academies provided educators from across the nation authentic renewable energy experiences taught by veteran industry installers and experts. The CERET academies served as a model for faculty professional development in renewable energy education at two-year colleges and high schools.

Career Education in Renewable Energy Technology

National Science Foundation/Department of Undergraduate Education (NSF/DUE 0501764) 2005-2009 Principal Investigator: Barbara Anderegg, Ph.D.

This visionary project introduced the groundbreaking CERET Renewable Energy Certificate. By delivering a combination of online and face-to-face renewable energy courses through a collaborative partnership, the project sought to increase the number of highly qualified and experienced renewable energy technicians nationwide. At the time, schools were challenged to address the emerging field of renewable energy, due to a lack of qualified faculty and a scarcity of renewable energy equipment that was available for instructional purposes. The partnership model developed in this project allowed schools to share instructional expertise, and to leverage the value of instructional equipment by making it available to a larger number of students. As a result of this work, over 500 students earned a CERET Renewable Energy Certificate, including students from all 50 U.S. states, as well as several international students.

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Career Education in Renewable Energy Technology

National Science Foundation/Department of Undergraduate Education (NSF/DUE 0202352) 2002-2006 Principal Investigator: Joy McMillan, Ph.D.

This pioneering project established the Consortium for Education in Renewable Energy Technologies (CERET) to facilitate implementation of technical education in renewable energy technologies, at a time when the industry was still in an early emerging state. The project established a technology demonstration site at Madison Area Technical College where business, industry, farmers, consumers, public officials, trades people, students, and educators could learn about renewable energy technologies. The project delivered a series of half day workshops on various renewable energy topics that reached several hundred two year college educators from Wisconsin and neighboring states in the Upper Midwest.