Partnership Aims to Energize Current, Future Work Force

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Two Indiana schools are partnering on an effort to combat a potential work force talent gap in Indiana's energy sector. Ivy Tech Corporate College and Purdue University have developed an education and training program designed to enhance the skills of current workers and funnel students into energy careers. Corporate College Executive Director Sherm Johnson says a project involving upgrades at the BP Whiting plant required out-of-state labor, because not enough Indiana workers had the needed training. The Crossroads Smart Grid Training Program was detailed on the latest edition of the INPower e-newsletter. Johnson says Indiana's energy sector employs about 16,000-17,000 workers, and believes about half of them are "coming up on retirement age."

The Crossroads Smart Grid Training Program is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Energy. Energy Systems Network worked with the schools to create and update related courses for students and working adults.

Purdue Professor J. Eric Dietz says the program offers flexibility to adapt to various workplace needs. He says there is programming targeting newly-graduated employees as well as post-graduate and Ph.D students.

He says much of the program focuses just as much on leveraging the expertise of the current work force as it does with developing the next generation of energy sector workers.

Source: Inside INdiana Business