COMMERCE AND REGENTS INVEST 1.6 MILLION IN ENERGYNET

November 9, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kansas Department of Commerce, Kansas Board of Regents invest $1.6 million in Energy Network of Education and Training

Investment will develop a network of Kansas public colleges and universities to increase education capacity for careers in energy industry

The Kansas Department of Commerce and the Kansas Board of Regents will invest $1.6 million in the Energy Network of Education and Training (EnergyNET), a system of Kansas public higher education institutions collaborating to provide enhanced workforce training for the state’s energy industry.

The network includes Fort Hays State University (FHSU), acting as the lead institution, along with additional public institutions that elect to join the network. FHSU will provide project management and coordination. Technical and community colleges will provide technical training for the energy sector (for positions such as lineworker, wind turbine technician, gas measurement technician, etc.).

The goal of EnergyNET is to enhance the ability of the Kansas public higher education system in meeting the training needs of the energy industry, including emerging energy (wind, solar, photovoltaic and biomass) and traditional energy; electric power transmission and distribution; smart grid and energy security; and energy efficiency (residential, commercial and industrial).

“We’ve learned that Kansas has the ability to create 10,000 new energy jobs in just the next two years,” said Lt. Governor Troy Findley, “and in order to keep Kansas on the road to recovery, we need to coordinate our training efforts to prepare Kansans for these jobs. I am glad to see agencies and educational institutions working together to strengthen our workforce and our energy industry.”

Led by energy industry experts, training will be designed to deliver industry-defined skills and credentials. FHSU, working with Regents and Commerce staff, will convene industry advisory committees, coordinate curriculum enhancements and identify industry credentials. Partnering colleges will deliver the technical training, general education and foundational skills. The system will utilize flexible learning formats, especially high-quality interactive online learning courseware. The cooperative model will allow many institutions to participate in training.

“EnergyNet provides an opportunity for institutions in the Kansas public higher education system to meet the workforce demands of the energy industry in a collaborative and innovative way,” said Dr. Andy Tompkins, President and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents. “Utilizing flexible delivery and e-learning technology in a coordinated, system-wide approach enables our institutions to educate and train Kansans wishing to enter the energy industry as well as current workers who need additional training. We are excited to be partnering with the Kansas Department of Commerce on this unique program that can serve as a model in meeting the critical and evolving needs of our workforce.”

“Our team will make EnergyNET a high priority, as we are excited to build a model of flexible e-learning products and institutional collaboration to meet industry needs,” said Dr. Edward Hammond, FHSU President. “This model can be used for additional industry sectors to meet state training needs.”

The $1.6 million investment comes from the federal Recovery Act and federal Perkins funding stream.

Kansas public higher education institutions, businesses or training providers interested in participating in EnergyNET should contact Dr. Chris Crawford, FHSU Assistant Provost for Quality Management, at (785) 628-5550 or ccrawfor@fhsu.edu.

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About the Kansas Board of Regents:
The nine-member Kansas Board of Regents is the governing board of the state’s six universities and the statewide coordinating board for the state’s 32 public higher education institutions (seven public universities, nineteen community colleges, and six technical colleges). In addition, the Board administers the state’s student financial aid, adult education, GED, and career and technical education programs. The Board also authorizes private proprietary schools and out-of-state institutions to operate in Kansas, and administers the Kan-ed network, a statewide network that provides broadband Internet access and distance learning capabilities for schools, hospitals, and libraries. Visit the Kansas Board of Regents online at www.kansasregents.org.

About the Kansas Department of Commerce:
As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Under the leadership of Secretary of Commerce Bill Thornton, the Department comprises a variety of programs and services that create jobs, attract new investment, provide workforce training, encourage community development and promote the state as a wonderful place to live, work and play. For details, visit www.kansascommerce.com.

About Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University takes pride in being the leading forward-thinking, entrepreneurial university of the Midwest. FHSU has an enrollment of 12,000 students and offers hundreds of certificate and degree programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s levels through 28 academic departments. FHSU attracts goal-oriented students who want premier learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom combined with extraordinary one-to-one attention and support. Located halfway between Denver and Kansas City, FHSU is a welcoming community in the heart of historic Hays, a community that celebrates its frontier roots and its modern sensibility. For details, visit www.fhsu.edu.