To help the energy industry meet expanding professional workforce needs, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Energy Providers Coalition for Education (EPCE) to offer online graduate degree programs in power systems engineering beginning in fall 2011. WPI becomes the fourth educational partner to join EPCE's national coalition, which represents two-thirds of the utility industry.
Platts Utility Data Institute predicts that over the next 10 years, more than 750 GW of new generating capacity will be installed worldwide, requiring an investment of $500 billion. That scenario represents a huge opportunity, not only for plant manufacturers, but also for providers of energy services. (Source: Power Systems Engineering Research Center (PSerc) public report, "Power Education at the Crossroads," December 2008).
Through EPCE, WPI is offering two online degrees—a Master of Engineering in Power Systems Engineering and a Master of Science in Power Systems Management—for the professional, degreed engineer who wants to gain new knowledge important to their critical roles in the industry. Additionally, WPI is offering online graduate certificates that compliment these master's degrees by offering a subset of the courses.
"As a nation, we continue to seek reliable, safe and sustainable energy solutions that support our economy," said Stephen P. Flavin, vice president of Academic and Corporate Development at WPI. "WPI is proud to offer differentiated, world-class programs that educate engineers in both their pursuit of a rewarding career, and sounder engineering solutions. The WPI and EPCE partnership is a powerful example of an alliance that supports furthering an industry, as well as the professional development of the individual. It’s an exciting venture."
EPCE members Northeast Utilities and PJM Interconnection were instrumental in facilitating the partnership between WPI and EPCE.
Northeast Utilities currently has 70 employees who have either obtained or are pursuing their master’s degrees through the WPI program. "Along the way, I've asked graduates of the WPI programs for anecdotes about how their degrees helped them on the job," said Michael Ahern, vice president of Utility Services at NU. "One employee was able to save millions of dollars on a project directly due to knowledge gained from his degree. With this kind of result, these programs can be a very smart investment."
Janell Fabiano, senior training specialist at PJM, said the company is always looking for ways to develop their employees, and an informal conversation about graduate programs with the head of training at New England ISO led to a discussion on WPI. "PJM's relationship with a local university offering onsite master's in electrical engineering fizzled out, and we were looking for alternatives," said Fabiano. "WPI's innovative online program fit the bill, and now we’re delighted to be able to offer our employees a tuition discount through the EPCE partnership."
The EPCE program is a signature initiative of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), an international non-profit with more than 35 years of experience in developing effective learning strategies for working adults. "This is an exciting next phase for EPCE to sponsor high-quality, online education options for engineers in the industry," said Jo Winger de Rondon, Vice President at CAEL. "We’re really excited about this partnership with WPI."
The Energy Providers Coalition for Education (www.epceonline.org) is a national alliance delivering solutions to attract and engage the energy industry's workforce through quality online education. These programs offer interested candidates and incumbent workers technical skills as well as academic knowledge needed for industry career paths in electric utilities, nuclear power, and gas distribution. EPCE members, representing over two-thirds of the industry, champion industry needs in their joint efforts to develop and sponsor online curriculum with qualified accredited high schools, colleges, and universities. The EPCE program is a signature initiative of CAEL, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (www.cael.org), an international non-profit organization with more than 35 years' experience in creating and managing effective learning strategies for working adults through partnerships with employers, higher education, the public sector, and labor. EPCE celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2011.
EPCE and other industry-specific education programs are administered by CAEL, the Council for Adult & Experiential Learning. Founded in 1974, CAEL is dedicated to providing adults better access to education through partnerships with business, government, labor and higher education. CAEL is headquartered in Chicago and has regional offices in Denver and Philadelphia.