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Ivy Tech gets $4.7M energy grant to retrain 1,500 workers

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Ivy Tech Community College has received $4.7 million in federal stimulus funds to retrain over the next three years as many as 1,500 displaced workers with skills needed for so-called smart-grid electrical technologies.

The Crossroads Smart Grid Training Program will offer Ivy Tech associate’s degrees in such areas as systems management and security, information technology, power systems engineering and line work.

Purdue University, which is helping Ivy Tech develop the program, will offer further smart-grid training as part of its bachelor’s programs in engineering and technology.

“It’s important for the state of Indiana to develop its energy capacity in terms of its work force training,” said Rebecca Nickoli, Ivy Tech’s vice president of work force and economic development. She added, “There’s an aging work force and yet there’s a significant increase in technology in this area. That just kind of combines for a perfect storm.”

Ivy Tech plans to begin the new classes within months, Nickoli said, and it hopes to keep the programs running beyond the three-year life of the grant.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Education, which doled out more than $99 million to promote training in similar “green jobs,” which were a major campaign pledge of President Obama's. Schools such as Ivy Tech and Purdue are contributing another $95 million in services to the program, which aims to train 30,000 displaced workers nationwide.

The smart grid represents an attempt to limit spikes in power demand, such as on the hottest days of summer, while also more easily integrating alternative energy sources such as wind and solar, according the U.S. Department of Energy.

Such a grid would rely on numerous technologies, including consumer appliances that can switch on and off based on the price of electricity at that moment. Also, power-grid operators, using sensing technologies that check consumer power usage 30 times a second, could control the flow of power more efficiently.

Ivy Tech said it would look to industry partners to help its training mesh with current needs of utilities and manufacturers of smart-grid equipment. One of those partners with be Energy Systems Network, an initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, which is focused on building Indiana’s clean technology industry.

Paul Mitchell, CEO of Energy Systems Network, said Indiana has assets that could help it outpace national growth rates in the emerging clean-technologies sector. “The challenge is preparing our work force to take advantage of these opportunities, and meet the needs of industry,” he said in a written statement.

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  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

  5. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

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