currently working with industry
partners to develop curriculum for a
renewable generation program.
A longtime provider of energy training in the oil and gas fields, BSC in 2001
was tapped to be the official education
provider for the Energy Providers
Coalition for Education. Through that
partnership, the college has developed
a series of in-person and online training
courses for workers in the nuclear and
electric power sectors.
BSC currently has employees working in energy facilities across all 50
states, an accomplishment Kleven attributes to top-notch training facilities
and the college’s ongoing relationships
with industry partners.
Working hand in hand with local and
national employers, BSC has developed
online and on-campus training labs that
mirror what students might expect to
confront in a plant.
“Whether students are sitting at
home on their computer or here at the
National Center of Excellence, they are
getting relevant experience that they
need. When they walk into a plant,
they say, ‘I’ve seen this. And I’m
comfortable with the equipment,’”
BSC has been fortunate in that North
Dakota is one of the few states in the
nation that are not in a deficit. The
availability of cash, coupled with
unwavering support from state and
federal policymakers, has made advancing the college’s energy program easier
than in Arizona, where the nonprofit
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
has projected an estimated $3 billion
shortfall through F. Y. 2011.
Like many rural colleges, CAC has
been forced to find funding for its
latest energy job-training programs.
Much of that support has come in the
form of federal grants.
Since 2006, White says CAC has
received more than $6 million from the
U.S. Department of Labor Community-
Based Job Training Grants program (www.
jobtraininggrants.cfm) and other sources
to build out its energy curriculum.
The most recent federal award provided
more than $2 million to boost training in
biofuels and solar installation throughout the state’s Pinal County region.
With enrollments on the rise and
resources already stretched thin,
finding money to support new programs within the existing budget was
impossible, White says. The grants
provided the startup costs—from furniture to supplies to retrofitting existing
facilities—to get these projects rolling.
The key now is to sustain the momentum over the long haul.
“When you apply for a grant, you are
looking for programs you can institutionalize at the end of the grant,” says
White. That’s how you help local workers
take advantage of career opportunities.
COREY MURRAY is managing editor of
Community College Journal.
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