Training Veterans for Careers in Clean Energy

September 5, 2014 By Karen Henry

veterans-energy-manageThe University of Maryland (UMD) has developed an online course for military veterans and transitioning service members who are interested in careers in the energy sector. The course helps veterans develop engineering design skills in the context of solving the nation’s energy problems.

Building on UMD’s Designing a Sustainable World course—a class based on the US Department of Energy’s Energy 101 framework to provide undergraduates with an introduction to the fundamentals of energy—the university teamed up with the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense’s Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative to create a similar course for veterans and transitioning service members.

The course, Designing Quantitative Solutions for Energy, pairs video lessons with virtual laboratories to encourage students to think critically and address complex energy challenges using core mathematical concepts used in the engineering fields. Students also receive mentorship opportunities to help them through project work and energy career planning.

The course centers on an individual design project in which students must identify a real-world energy problem and propose creative solutions. Students are taught to use a step-by-step design approach through the course, which includes generating and ranking multiple solutions, justifying the selected solution, developing and testing a model and analyzing resultant data.

So far, 36 current and former service members have participated in the pilot course.

In 2012, the State of Illinois developed a program in cooperation with Lincoln Land Community College for veterans to earn Building Operator Certification (BOC).

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