SOUTHFIELD — The National Science Foundation has awarded a five-year grant totaling $598,000 to provide scholarships to help 100 graduates of Monroe County Community College earn degrees in power engineering from Lawrence Technological University.
In partnership with DTE Energy, MCCC has developed an associate degree program in nuclear engineering technology. After completing that two-year program, the MCCC graduates will be eligible for an NSF scholarship in order to study electrical engineering with a concentration in power engineering at LTU.
The grant will provide a scholarship pool of up to $100,400 a year to 18 LTU students and two MCCC students each year through the 2016-17 academic year. Scholarship recipients could start taking courses at Lawrence Tech in January.
“Hats off to Lawrence Tech for seeking a grant that will help keep students from taking on the high education debts that we have read so much about lately,” said MCCC President David Nixon. “After earning a two-year degree in nuclear engineering technology at MCCC’s low tuition rate, students will be able to stack on another credential with less of a debt when they graduate with a power engineering degree from LTU — and they can expect to earn higher wages.”
Some of these students will have opportunities for jobs at DTE Energy while they complete their studies at Lawrence Tech.
The LTU-MCCC partnership is designed to address the national need for a highly skilled, diversified workforce in the generation, transmission and distribution of power. Graduates of the LTU bachelor’s degree program also will be qualified to pursue graduate studies.
“Electricity generation is one industry you can’t outsource, and there is a shortage of power engineers in this country that could become acute in the next few years as many engineers in this field retire,” said Professor Phil Olivier, chair of LTU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “The job prospects of new power engineers are very bright.”
DTE Energy has a specific need to hire more nuclear engineers for its Fermi Nuclear power plant located on the shores of Lake Erie near Monroe.
“We have been extremely happy with our partnership with MCCC, which has enabled us to train and hire homegrown talent for technical positions at DTE Energy,” said Vince Dow, vice president of Distribution Engineering and Construction for DTE Energy. “It’s great that graduates of MCCC’s two-year program now will have an opportunity to pursue a four-year degree in a field that has a critical need for new engineers.”
Lawrence Tech Assistant Professor Kun Hua is the principal investigator (PI) for the NSF grant, and the co-PIs are Associate Professor Lisa Anneberg and Olivier. One of NSF’s goals is to encourage students to continue their studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in college.
“The project is strengthening the partnership between the two-year and four-year institutions of higher education, along with local engineering and technology employers,” Hua said.
To ensure student success, LTU will offer a comprehensive package of student outreach and support, career exploration, and job placement services. The scholarship recipients will learn about power engineering through interdisciplinary courses, research projects, conferences, guest lecturers, field trips, and membership in professional organizations.
“LTU is leveraging its network of local and regional industry partnerships, including DTE Energy, to aid in the recruitment, retention, and job placement of these scholarship recipients,” Hua said.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. Bloomberg BusinessWeek lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 20 percent of universities for return on undergraduate tuition investment, and highest in the Detroit metropolitan area. Lawrence Tech is also listed in the top tier of Midwestern universities by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review. Students benefit from small class sizes and experienced faculty who provide a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student clubs and organizations and a growing roster of NAIA varsity sports.