CAEL Managed EPCE Coalition Selected by the Department of Energy for Smart Grid Workforce Training and Development Grant Award

Energy Providers Coalition for Education (EPCE) - 04.09.2010

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and the Department of Energy announced award selections for nearly $100 million for 54 smart grid workforce training programs that will help prepare the next generation of workers in the utility and electrical manufacturing industries.

One of those selected is the ‘Energy Providers Coalition for Education (EPCE) - Workforce Preparedness for Smart Grid Deployment’ project led by CAEL. Some of the key objectives include:

• Providing critical workforce preparedness training for thousands of current and future employees of several electric power entities currently engaged in deploying Smart Grid technologies:

  • American Public Power Association (APPA)
  • Arizona Public Service (APS)
  • ComEd (an Exelon company)
  • JEA
  • Northeast Utilities
  • National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), and
  • PJM Interconnection

• Developing new modular smart grid curriculum with EPCE’s founding education partner, Bismarck State College (BSC), through their National Energy Center of Excellence to be delivered as three online courses:

  • Alternative Energy Sources and the Smart Grid
  • Operation Considerations for the Smart Grid, and
  • Impact of the Smart Grid

• Creating new energy certificate and degree programs that combine online energy education and locally delivered technical and general education with a partnership between BSC and Connecticut College of Technology.

• Developing a career pathway and online energy education for high-school students in partnership with Virtual High School Global Consortium.

CAEL’s regional office in Denver, Colorado will carry out this project and will be directed by CAEL Vice President, Jo Winger de Rondon. “We are pleased to be notified of this selection by the Department of Energy,” said Winger de Rondon. “With this funding, we will co-design new online curriculum to help prepare the vital energy workforce for rapid technological changes coming to the industry,” she continued. “Leveraging the historical success of the national EPCE Coalition provides a ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure to quickly deliver the new online curriculum.”

The Department of Energy announcement can be seen at About EPCE

The Energy Providers Coalition for Education ( is a national alliance delivering solutions to attract and engage the energy industry’s workforce through quality online education. Expanding beyond standard job training, EPCE’s online programs are contextualized credit-bearing courses leading to certificates, Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees. These programs offer interested candidates and incumbent workers technical skills as well as academic knowledge needed for industry career paths in electric utilities, nuclear power, and gas distribution. EPCE members, representing over two-thirds of the industry, champion industry needs in their joint efforts to develop and sponsor online curriculum with qualified accredited high schools, colleges, and universities. This collaborative strategy ensures continued program expansion across electric utilities and the energy industry at large.

About CAEL

The EPCE program is a signature initiative of CAEL, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. As an international non-profit organization for more than 30 years, The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning ( creates and manages effective learning strategies for working adults through partnerships with employers, higher education, the public sector, and labor. CAEL is headquartered in Chicago and also has regional offices in Denver and Philadelphia.


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