Over the past decade, renewable energy has grown at a much faster pace than many other industry sectors. This growth results from recent technological advances, government policy and regulatory reforms, and tremendous reductions in the cost of solar and wind equipment. As a result, the electricity sector is now engaged in a dramatic shift from energy obtained from fossil fuels to energy obtained from renewable resources. STEM careers in renewable energy provide technicians with well-paying jobs that can support families, that cannot be easily exported, and that benefit the local community. The Resource Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education (CREATE) aims to support preparation of a new generation of renewable energy educators and skilled technical professionals. The expected outcomes include greater use of renewable energy, an improved power infrastructure, greater resilience of US energy systems, and a larger role for the United States as a global industry leader in renewable energy technology.
CREATE will support two-year institutions to develop, promote, grow, and advance robust academic programs to provide the renewable energy industry with a skilled technical workforce. This goal will be accomplished through six key objectives: 1) provide support, mentoring, and professional development for faculty and prospective NSF principal investigators in renewable energy technology; 2) coordinate and support additional renewable energy industry, business, and academic partnerships; 3) educate the public about renewable energy and renewable energy technician careers; 4) develop, screen, validate, update, and distribute renewable energy teaching materials, curricula, and pedagogical practices; 5) connect and support existing and new ATE project Principal Investigators in renewable energy and related fields; and 6) develop a plan for achieving sustainability and institutionalization of key center functions. Additional plans include serving high school educators to create bridges to higher education. The Center will also reach out to faculty at Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Historically Black Colleges to encourage them to apply to the ATE program. Increasing the number of women in the renewable energy fields will continue to be a focus of CREATE. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation's economy.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.