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Morrisville State College Campus Sprouts Green, Adds New Associate Degree In Renewable Energy Technology,

Augments Renewable Energy Training Center, Green Efforts Already in Place
MORRISVILLE, N.Y.— The campus known for its cutting-edge technology and entrepreneurial prowess is now becoming widely known for its green laurels.

The popular hue is synonymous with Morrisville State College’s efforts in generating technology—the renewable kind.
And it will become even more universal with the addition of a new associate of applied science degree in renewable energy technology recently approved by the state Department of Education.

Applications are being accepted now for the program which will welcome its first students this fall.

The new degree, the only one of its kind in New York state, focuses on developing skilled technicians in the burgeoning field of renewable energy. Renewable energy sources are those that are replenished at a rate equal to which they are consumed and are continuously replenished from natural sources and processes including sunlight, wind, rain, biomass, tides and geothermal.

Morrisville State College is already ahead of the pack in the green revolution with a 10kW wind turbine, an anaerobic methane digester, a biodiesel processor, and research it’s conducting in biodiesel feedstocks. These facilities that provide the Morrisville State College campus with renewable energy, coupled with several energy-related projects currently in progress, will provide students with hands-on, real-world learning laboratories.

The benefits will extend beyond renewable energy degree students and the campus to the local community and business world through a new on-campus Renewable Energy Training Center (RETC).

The center, made possible through a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), is a multi-county alliance of employers, training providers, economic development partners and K-12 schools to address the long- and short-term needs of New York state’s high-growth, high-demand renewable energy sector.

The new renewable energy technology degree program will yield students well-versed in renewable energy and energy efficiency and it will provide the workforce with vital training in the renewable energy job sector.
 
It comes at a time when entrepreneurs, CEOs and business owners are seeing the importance of sustainable business practices throughout professional industries, leaving them eyeing ways to implement the latest renewable energy technologies, facilities and products.

“This unique degree program, coupled with the short-term training available through Morrisville’s Renewable Energy Training Center, makes our region even more attractive to employers in the growing renewable energy sector because we will have a well-educated and highly trained workforce,” Alice J. Savino, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board (WIB) of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida counties said.

The environmentally conscious campus is already getting top grades for harnessing energy and providing training for high-growth sectors of the region’s economy.

“The degree program, and the outstanding collaboration Morrisville has shown with all parts of our region, is a great step forward in developing the workforce of tomorrow while also meeting the needs of today,” David Mathis, director of Oneida County Workforce Development, said.

The center has hosted solar and wind workshops and that is only the beginning, according to Dr. Ben Ballard, director of the RETC and assistant professor of renewable energy.

“The RETC will provide just-in-time training for individuals interested in building their toolkit of skills to install, service, and maintain the rapidly growing renewable energy systems in the Northeast,” Ballard said.

Throughout the next two years, the RETC will offer technical training covering energy systems ranging from small wind and solar photovoltaics to geothermal heat pumps, micro hydroelectric systems and methane digesters.

“We plan to provide training for these important energy systems for those with a technical background and the interest in learning marketable skills,” Ballard said.

Future renewable energy short course and workshop offerings can be found online at http://retc.morrisville.edu.

Perhaps the greatest commodity it’s generating—graduates with expertise in renewable energy resources and systems and energy efficiency.

“Morrisville has been ahead of the curve in developing renewable energy programs, and this latest addition – coming at a time when renewable energy is one of the nation’s hottest growth sectors – will provide opportunities for students across our region who want careers in the growing green sector,” Savino said.

Students
On the Morrisville State College campus, the terms green, environmentally friendly and sustainable are becoming part of students’ everyday lingo.

They will be even more prevalent to those enrolling in the new degree program, which includes renewable energy courses that focus on electrical power generation systems (wind, solar, and hydroelectric), heating and cooling (solar, geothermal), and biomass and biofuels.

Every step of the way, students will gain actual experience working on the college’s wind turbine and anaerobic methane digester and will be part of other renewable projects, research and initiatives.

“Instead of just learning from a text book and working with a model, students will be working with real, full-scale systems,” Ballard said.

Other courses will broaden students’ knowledge, providing them with foundational skills in electricity, machines and digital circuits, hydraulics, chemistry, physics and mathematics, while technical electives will help them develop skills in residential electrification, plumbing, heating systems, engines and diesel systems, and anaerobic digesters.
Many courses take advantage of the strong technology curricula already existing on the Morrisville campus, while those focusing on renewable energy systems were added for the new degree. Students will also have opportunities to participate in an internship.

There will be visible additions on campus, too.

Shannon Hall, where the center currently operates, will get a facelift to accommodate its sprightly growth. Additional teaching facilities and equipment including: laboratory-scale anaerobic digester, dedicated teaching wind turbine, tip-up tower, micro hydroelectric systems, solar photovoltaic (PV) array, and solar thermal hot water system, are also in the works.

“Morrisville has an incredible wealth of renewable energy systems installed from which our students can learn a great deal,” Dr. Phil Hofmeyer, assistant professor of renewable energy, said.

“As we continue to grow and respond to the needs of the industry, we will add cutting-edge technology to ensure our students are not working on antiquated systems,” he said. “The systems we are putting together right now for the degree program will truly make us a leader in renewable energy education.”

“Morrisville’s renewable energy degree program will help our region forge ahead to become a leader in renewable energy education and training,” Savino said.

Some financial assistance will be provided along the way.

Through the DOL grant, merit- and income-based scholarships are available for the next two years to defray some of the tuition expenses. Assistance is also available for participants in the RETC workshops/short courses.

Graduates from the renewable energy technology degree are poised for jobs as entry-level installers and maintenance technicians for renewable energy technologies including grid-tied solar photovoltaic, small wind, micro-hydroelectric, solar thermal and geothermal heating/cooling systems, and various renewable biofuel systems.

Students will gain experience with electrical engineering, residential construction and diesel engine systems, which have broad applicability and will prepare students for careers beyond basic systems installers.

For more information about the new renewable energy technology degree, call 1-800-258-0111 or visit the college’s Web site at www.morrisville.edu.

Morrisville State College offers more than 75 bachelor and associate degrees and options including a new bachelor degree in business administration, a bachelor of technology degree in criminal justice and an associate degree in renewable energy technology.

Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college recently became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones. Morrisville State College was also chosen as one of the top five colleges in the nation for campus activities by Campus Activities magazine.

The Morrisville State College Norwich Campus offers associate degree programs in accounting, business, computer systems technology, office administration, liberal arts transfer, nursing, early childhood, criminal justice and human services to south central New York residents and employers. Students may also apply coursework to other associate or bachelor degrees at the main campus.