Ohio Develops Master's Program in Advanced Energy

Ohio is pioneering the development of “green collar” workers and creating new business opportunities by offering the state's first masters degree program in advanced energy.

According to the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment, the state's universities and colleges are preparing a gearing up to meet the need for skilled green collar workers through the new programs. The state's long history of manufacturing excellence and large pool of skilled workers create an ideal environment for the growing number of jobs related to advanced energy.

Several Ohio universities are participating in the advanced energy master's degree program. Degrees will be awarded by the University of Dayton and Wright State University, and classes also will be held at Central State University and the Air Force Institute of Technology. Students can enroll in the two-year program on a full-time or part-time basis.

Companies like Lewis Center-based NexTech Materials, which manufactures active components for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), says the advanced energy master's degree program will give students the kind of training they need to succeed in a global economy.

“This program will be a huge benefit not only to Ohio students, but also to the businesses throughout the state operating in the advanced energy industries,” said Bill Dawson, president and chief executive officer of NexTech Materials. “Students can be trained and gain access to jobs without having to look out of state. At the same time, it will be easier for companies working in fuel cells and other advanced energy sources to recruit the best possible workforce.”

Through initiatives such as Ohio Governor Ted Strickland's Energy, Jobs and Progress plan, announced in 2007, Ohio is modernizing its energy infrastructure, ensuring affordable and stable energy prices and attracting renewable energy jobs of the future through an Advanced Energy Portfolio Standard.

One of the most significant initiatives supporting Ohio's renewable energy industry and future job force is the state's Third Frontier Project, a 10-year, $1.6 billion initiative to help catalyze connections between companies and academia. The project is the state's largest-ever commitment to expand high-tech research capabilities, promote innovation, company formation and create high-paying jobs. Many of those jobs will be filled by Ohio's developing green collar workforce.