FORT PIERCE — The energy industry is rapidly growing and evolving, and Indian River State College (IRSC) is among a handful of state, technical and community colleges from across the country coming together to form CREATE — the Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technology Education. The center’s mission is to produce a skilled technical workforce that will help transform the world’s energy industries.
CREATE was made possible with a $7.5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant awarded July 1, 2022, that continues through June 30, 2027.
The center will provide a community of practice for more than 900 national STEM educators to share energy technology and serve as a source of professional development. Schools participating in the NSF grant with IRSC are Madison College, Central Carolina Community College, College of the Canyons and Delaware Technical Community College.
Each member institution focuses on a different area, including green construction, electric vehicle technology and battery storage. IRSC’s focus is on the micro grid and other types of renewable energy national training.
“Renewable energy provides technicians with good paying jobs in STEM careers while also providing an economic lift to the communities where these individuals live,” said Kevin Cooper, Executive Director of Innovation and Business Development at Indian River State College and Co-Principal Investigator for the CREATE Center. “The goal of the CREATE Center is to advance the field of renewable energy by supporting two-year college renewable energy programs.”
The CREATE Center will prepare a new generation of renewable energy educators and technical professionals. The ultimate results will be greater deployment of clean renewable energy, a more strategically designed distributed power infrastructure, greater resilience of our energy systems in the event of an emergency or natural disaster, and a more significant role for the United States as a global industry leader in renewable energy technology. By advancing the field of renewable energy, the CREATE Center will have far-reaching environmental and economic benefits as it helps to transform our country’s energy infrastructure while cleaning our atmosphere and providing Americans with low-cost, emission-free energy.
In June, IRSC announced that it had received a three-year, $2,735,771 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a National Electric Vehicle Consortium (NEVC) to help alleviate an immediate shortage of skilled technical workers across almost every sector of the fast-growing electric vehicle industry. Kevin Cooper serves as Principal Investigator for the NEVC. He is also co-principal investigator for an NSF-funded project designed to improve the integration of Supervisory Controls and Data Acquisition (SCADA) technologies into the renewable energy sector.
“Renewable energy and electric vehicles sectors are experiencing once in a century evolutions and IRSC is there to address critical small business, innovation, and workforce challenges to help secure the future,” said Cooper.