Steven H. Kitchin | Vice president for corporate education and training, New England Institute of Technology
1. How did your partnership with Number Nine Wind Farm develop? The Number Nine Wind Farm in Maine will be the largest operating onshore wind farm in New England and will require a highly skilled workforce to build and operate the site. They sought a local education partner to help them develop a training program and found that NEIT had the right mix of relevant renewable-energy coursework and faculty expertise.
2. What will the partnership involve? If EDP Renewables, the developer of the wind farm, wins the contract serving Rhode Island, the company will provide $500,000 to NEIT to develop and incorporate wind-technology coursework with the associate of science degree program in electrical technology with renewable energy. NEIT will expand its current renewable-energy coursework with additional classes on the basics of wind-turbine functions, how to design and build wind installations, and how to wire into grids and batteries.
3. What role does the Center for Technology and Industry play at your school? Since 1986, the center has been a leader in creating customized, advanced training for employees, companies and organizations of all sizes and representing most industries. The center offers short-term, in-person and online professional-development modules, specialized academic degree programs and dozens of low-cost, online-learning training courses … for working professionals.
4. Has the Shipbuilding and Advanced Manufacturing Institute at the school grown? In 2018, the institute trained approximately 400 Rhode Island residents in shipbuilding and advanced-manufacturing occupations. This is a 100 percent increase from the number of individuals served in 2017. The institute was able to accomplish this because of the positive reputation it has established by providing work-ready, entry-level employees for these industries.
5. How does your school stay attuned to the needs of today’s employers? The university’s career-services office is in daily contact with employers both locally and nationally who are seeking candidates to fill current openings. Employers share job descriptions and the skill sets that are essential in today’s labor market. The university … has the ability to quickly alter curriculum, so our students are able to meet the demands of employers seeking highly skilled talent.
Scott Blake is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Blake@PBN.com.