Energy Grant Opens Up New Career Opportunities for Hartford Students

VHS, EPCE, Northeast Utilities, and CBIA’s Education Foundation partner to provide online energy education and internships to students at Hartford’s Academy of Engineering and Green Technology.
Aug. 30, 2011 - PRLog -- Hartford, CT, Maynard, MA & Denver, CO – Energy consumption in the United States is expected to increase by 49% by 2025 yet there may not be enough qualified workers to handle the demand. A new project presently underway, the EPCE Smart Grid Workforce Development Grant, is committed to ensuring there is a skilled workforce to replace the estimated 50% of technical workers that are set to retire in the next five to 10 years. Funded by a U.S. Department of Energy workforce and training grant and administered by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) on behalf of the Energy Providers Coalition for Education (EPCE), the project is committed to training 1,800 current and future industry workers on smart grid technologies through the end of next year.

Representing approximately 70 percent of the industry workforce, EPCE ( is a unique national coalition of industry organizations that partners with higher-education to develop, sponsor, and promote online learning programs to help the energy industry meet its workforce needs. This grant project is also conducted in partnership with Virtual High School Global Consortium (, the pioneer of K-12 online learning and course design for teachers, Northeast Utilities (, operators of New England’s largest utility system, and Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) Education Foundation ( whose mission is to help develop a skilled, knowledgeable workforce in Connecticut.

Twenty-two students from the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology, most of which are going into their senior year, were selected to participate in the two-year project. It began with a four week, hands-on internship and will continue with two specially-designed online courses created by Virtual High School (VHS), but facilitated at the Academy. Starting next month, students will take Mathematics of Electricity: Careers in Electric Power and, in the spring, Renewable Energy and the Smart Grid.

For over 10 years, VHS has been creating specialized online courses for institutions and grant-funded projects as an extension of their mission to equip middle and high school students with 21st century learning skills and prepare them for future careers. All VHS courses are delivered co-synchronously and taught by VHS teachers who actively teach in classrooms at VHS member schools.  All are certified in their specific discipline and have completed a graduate level professional development program in online teaching. Instructors facilitate and continually monitor all courses, engaging students in discussions, and assessing each individual student’s progress.

As part of the grant, 11 high school students from Hartford’s Academy of Engineering in Green Technology spent this summer learning about OSHA compliance, how to operate heavy equipment, developed an understanding liquefied natural gas (LNG), electricity and more through a paid summer internship at Northeast Utilities subsidiaries, Connecticut Light & Power and Yankee Gas.

Tom Burns, director of training at Northeast Utilities, is overseeing the student internships at Northeast Utilities. “We are always looking for opportunities to build a workforce pipeline, especially in the company’s larger urban areas. This is some of the best training we can offer and it’s truly been life-changing for these kids.”

About Virtual High School (VHS)
Virtual High School is the pioneer of online course design and instruction for teachers and online education for high school students. Virtual High School partners with schools to provide rigorous, student-centered online courses that help expand rather than replace existing curriculum options. The VHS collaborative includes 770 member schools and 15,000 enrolled students from 35 U.S. states and 45 countries. The recipient of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) 2005, 2007 and 2008 awards for Excellence in Programming and Excellence in Best Practices and the Stockholm Challenge 2001 Award for exemplary use of technology in education, VHS was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Maynard, Massachusetts. For more information, visit or call (978) 897-1900.

About EPCE
The Energy Providers Coalition for Education ( 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. EPCE celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2011.

About CAEL
The EPCE program is a signature initiative of CAEL, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (, 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. CAEL is headquartered in Chicago and has regional offices in Denver and Philadelphia.

About CBIA Education Foundation
Established in 1983, Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA's) Education Foundation is a nonprofit affiliate of CBIA( the state’s largest business association) whose mission is to help develop a skilled, knowledgeable workforce in Connecticut. The foundation, a 501(c)(3), works by strengthening educational policies and practices, stimulating career development and exploration, and promoting job training to match employer needs.

Press Contact: Carol Arnold, Arnold Communications,, (877) 718-4604 x2.

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The pioneer of K-12 online learning and course design for teachers, Virtual High School (VHS) is a non-profit collaborative of high schools, middle schools, teachers and students.
Source:Arnold Communications
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Industry:Education, Technology, Energy
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