The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced a US$20 million investment in the University of Tennessee (UT) to advance workforce development in emerging energy fields. The DOE’s investment in the UT, Tennessee’s flagship land-grant university, will expand the university's partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) through the Oak Ridge Institute (ORI).
Over the course of the five-year interdisciplinary program, participating students will focus on research and development (R&D) in evolving technical fields, including resilient energy systems. Students will also receive professional development training, including communications, computational literacy, and technology transfer, to prepare them for the 21st century workforce and develop their entrepreneurial skills.
The ORI will develop a flexible workforce development program with modular interdisciplinary curriculum options that can ultimately be used as a model for workforce development partnerships between other universities, agencies, and national laboratories in the future. The program will support increased diversity and inclusion by encouraging participation from underrepresented minority groups, including military veteran, rural, and first-generation college students.
"The DOE is committed to preparing the next generation of scientists and engineers to sustain American global leadership in the renewable power, sustainable transportation, and energy efficiency sectors," said Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. "This expanded partnership between the UT and the ORNL supports the administration's strategy for STEM education by developing a more diverse energy workforce with the skills needed by 21st century employers."