This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 29, 2011

Department of Energy Announces New Partnerships to Support Manufacturing Job Training

To complement the Obama Administration's launch last week of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced a series of new manufacturing job training partnerships using the Department of Energy's National Training and Education Resource (NTER). DOE will be partnering with the Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies, and Macomb Community College to explore opportunities to provide students with highly interactive and engaging materials in a variety of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) areas, as well as virtual technician training. Partner organizations will be able to access the federal resources available through the NTER—an open-source, web-based, interactive learning environment—and be able to develop new training programs and materials.

"The public-private partnerships we are announcing today will play an important role in educating and training a new generation of U.S. manufacturers," said Secretary Chu. "These organizations and others nationwide will be able to leverage the Department's online education platform—the National Training and Education Resource—to develop and distribute training materials quickly and cost-effectively."

DOE will provide IT tools and technical support to each of the organizations, which will allow them to upgrade their existing curricula and create new immersive learning environments for students and technicians. Descriptions of the partner organizations are as follows:

The Manufacturing Institute will work with DOE to use NTER as a cutting-edge vehicle to implement the NAM-endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System (MSCS) across the nation's network of community colleges and high schools. The MSCS provides students with opportunities to earn manufacturing credentials that are accepted across state lines, are valued by a range of employers, and can improve participants' earning power. MSCS is partnering with educational and workplace measurement and research service organization ACT, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the American Welding Society, the National Institute of Metalworking Skills, and the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council to implement the program.

The Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies (Ford PAS) is working with its network of communities to explore opportunities to integrate the DOE's National Training and Education Resource into its programs nationwide. Ford PAS sees enormous potential in NTER to support the use of real-world industry scenarios in high school and college classrooms to engage students, develop their knowledge and skills, and prepare them for further study and promising careers in the energy and related industries.

Macomb Community College's comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities. Macomb will use NTER to enhance several of its electric vehicle oriented courses.

NTER is an open-source integration platform that brings together information technologies to support education, training, and workforce development. By providing a central access point for educational resources, the tool will help lower the costs and reduce the time it takes to develop, share, customize, and update online learning materials. It also allows instructors to create interactive 3-D scenarios and virtual environments for training that can be customized for a particular lesson or skill. The system also provides a powerful search tool that allows users to find, rate, and share courses. It is currently being used to deliver energy efficiency training. To learn more about NTER, visit the National Weatherization Training Portal.

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