National grants expand energy education, scholarships at NWTC

Tuesday August 12, 2014

$1.3 million in federal funds fuels energy, automation, ‘green’ industries

Approximately 30 new scholarships per year and additional energy education will be offered at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College thanks to new federal grant funding. The National Science Foundation has awarded more than $1.3 million to NWTC to prepare workers to meet the state’s growing energy and engineering needs.

National Science Foundation logo

The college has received two grants to support industries where the shortage of skilled workers is most critical.

A $616,357 grant for the “Manufacturing, Engineering Technology, and Energy Ready (METER) Scholars” project: Most of this funding will go directly to students. Over five years, approximately 150 financial awards will be made to eligible students who apply for the METER program and are seeking associate degrees in Electro-Mechanical Technology, Automation Engineering Technology, Utilities Engineering Technology, Solar Energy Technology, and Energy Management Technology. The number of awards will be affected by the financial need of award applicants.

Utilities Engineering Student stands near gauges in a hard hat

METER scholars will also receive:

  • Mentoring from faculty and industry professionals
  • The opportunity to join on-campus and professional organizations
  • Career exploration through networking and industry tours

Associate Dean Amy Kox said the way the funds are being used should be especially effective for increasing the number of technicians in these fields. "The funding from the National Science Foundation will go directly towards scholarships so that eligible students will not have to take out loans to complete their studies and enter careers.... These students will also participate in a cohort program exposing them to industry tours, networking and mentors. We believe that these intentional activities and support will mean a higher percentage of students will complete their degrees."

The METER Scholarship application is available at

A $741,146 grant for the “UPDATE: Utilities Pipeline Development for Advanced Technological Education” project: This project will provide a more robust pathway for utilities students as well as current workers who need a higher level of technical skills. This robust training model can be replicated by other two-year colleges.

As part of the UPDATE program, the College will:

  • Expand outreach to K12 students and instructors regarding technical career opportunities in utilities areas

  • Infuse the utilities and energy curriculum with Smart Grid technologies and concepts

  • Deepen the credibility and broaden the availability of utilities training for technicians

These grants are provided by the National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S STEM) program under Award 1356432 and NSF’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program under Award No. 1304726. Recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.



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