The GridSTAR Center is part of a government program designed to modernize the nation’s electrical grid and implement smart grid technologies in communities across the country. Penn State has received a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for the development of this center.
The GridSTAR Center (Grid Smart Training and Application Resource Center) was created to develop and deliver responsive professional and skilled workforce educational programming that is aligned with caliber and pace of the emerging smart grid investments and markets. The GridSTAR Center is coordinated by the Pennsylvania State University College of Engineering, the Center for Sustainability and Outreach operations. It has initialized at two strategic pre-existing service centers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Working closely with the region’s top energy technology educators, utility officers, manufacturing executives, and workforce development agencies, the GridSTAR Center addresses mega trends and workforce bottlenecks occurring in smart grid-related industries. It aims to develop an innovative continuing education and training delivery network. This network responds to evolving regional and national needs to design, manufacture, manage, install and maintain superior smart grid technologies and systems. The connection to university-based research and development activities ensures that the most current and emerging technologies and lessons learned from Smart Grid Demonstration projects are integrated into regularly updated curricula.
To provide smart grid education, training and stewardship, the four objectives of the GridSTAR Center are to:
- Convene a network of industry leaders to identify smart grid workforce development needs;
- Support the alignment of workforce demand with existing training infrastructure utilizing two GridSTAR Center Hubs
- Implement workforce development programs in partnership with utilities, community colleges, other universities, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)/International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) training centers and various industry sectors
- Assess placement and economic impact metrics to continuously refine programs and disseminate results.
GridSTAR Center Locations
The GridSTAR Center benefits from multiple energy technology programs and energy sector education, training, and business development activities in the Mid-Atlantic region to quickly grow to serve a national audience. Operations will begin at University Park in 2011 and will then encompass two permanent satellite locations:
- The revitalized Philadelphia Navy Yard, which also serves as home for the recently awarded U.S. Department of Energy Solar Workforce Development and Clean Energy Applications Centers
- The Pittsburgh Green Innovators facility, an adaptive reuse of the former Pittsburgh Public Vo-Tech High School and future site of the Penn State Center – Pittsburgh.