As the nation prepares to meet the needs of the future by updating its electric power system, new training opportunities are needed to develop a well-trained, highly skilled electric power sector workforce. The College of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) has been awarded a $2.4 million grant from the Department of Energy for workforce training for the electric power sector. This award will be matched with $270,000 from UTC and through equipment donations. The principal investigators on the project are Dr. Ahmed Eltom, Dr. Stephen Craven, and Dr. Ed McMahon.

The college will work with Chattanooga State, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association (TVPPA), the Electric Power Board (EPB), and Tennessee Workforce Development to increase access to educational opportunities for electric power sector employees to prepare them for smart grid technology applications, increase the number of engineers from undergraduate and graduate programs who are prepared to support the electric power sector especially with regards to supporting application of smart power distribution, and increase the number of middle and high school students who are aware of the career opportunities in the electric power sector. The college plans to maximize the impact of the training by offering programs in Power Systems and Power Systems Management online.

As a result of this grant the College of Engineering and Computer Science will be able to develop an innovative power curriculum and state of the art laboratories, attract more students at the undergraduate and graduate level, attract highly qualified faculty, and conduct research in alternative energy, energy efficiency, and new power system technologies.

The investigators would like to thank Chattanooga State, TVA, TVPPA, EPB, Tennessee Workforce Development, the UTC Grants Office, and the faculty and staff of the College of Engineering for their efforts in support of this grant. The official Department of Energy announcement can be found here.