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Center of Excellence earns Bellwether Award finalist recognition
Posted: 1/10/2011 The Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy (PNCECE), a Centralia College partnership, has earned national recognition as a 2011 Bellwether Award finalist. PNCECE is developing training programs to serve emerging Smart Grid technology.

The award recognizes outstanding and innovative programs and practices that other colleges might find worthy of replicating.

Smart Grid is the energy industry’s effort to develop and deliver energy curriculum to serve energy “niches” for wind, solar, energy efficiency, distribution line, nuclear, hydro, and thermal power plant operations. These programs serve 800 students annually across Washington state including current workers and individuals in apprentice programs.

“There has been a tremendous amount of work that has gone on at the PNCECE,” said Dr. Jim Walton, college president. “The task at hand is extremely challenging but the staff has been up to it. It is an exceptional statement and a tribute to the work that is done by the COE staff that this program is being recognized as a leader on a national stage.” Barbara Hins-Turner is the PNCECE director.

“National recognition for efforts by a two-year college is very prestigious,” said Hins-Turner. “It demonstrates that we are capable of innovation in workforce development.”

Through a U.S. Department of Energy $12 million grant awarded in 2010, the Washington state model is being replicated to serve the five partner states in the Pacific Northwest and establish energy training satellites to identify Smart Grid training needs across a variety of energy occupations, to improve internal job progression in utilities, and to create a centralized training and recruiting base, said Hins-Turner.

The grant application, put together at Centralia College, was endorsed by four governors, 11 U.S. legislators representing Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and Northwest Energy Efficiency Taskforce (NEET) agencies representing the Pacific Northwest states. The project will serve trainees, including the redeployment of meter readers who will lose jobs due to implementation of the Smart Gridtechnologies.

Bellwether Award winners are selected through national competition in three categories: Instructional Programs & Services; Planning, Governance & Finance; and Workforce Development. The 2011 Bellwether Award winners will be announced at the Community College Futures Assembly being held in Orlando, Fla.

The Bellwether Awards are conferred by the Community College Futures Assembly, which is sponsored by the University of Florida Institute of Higher Education.

Centralia College is one of 10 nominees selected as national finalists in the Workforce Development category.


January 31, 2011 12:52 AM
Go Centralia College / COE! We can't wait to hear the results.

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