October 21st, 2014 - Kankakee Community College (KCC) has been awarded the 2014 IREC Accredited Clean Energy Training Provider of the Year by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). The award was presented at Solar Power International in Las Vegas, NV.
KCC’s Dr. Michael Boyd, Vice President of Instructional and Student Success, Professor Timothy Wilhelm and coordinator Jennifer Martin of the Electrical Technology program (on the right in photo) accepted the award on behalf of the college.
IREC is a nationally recognized thought leader, stakeholder coordinator, expert resource and facilitator of regulatory reform. Their work expands consumer access to clean energy; generates information and objective analysis grounded in best practices and standards; and leads national efforts to build a quality-trained clean energy workforce, including a unique credentialing program for training programs and instructors.
KCC’s training and education programs
In KCC’s electrical technology renewable energy track courses, students are given real-world renewable energy equipment in the labs and at the end of each semester are able to participate in a student capstone project on campus or in the local community. This provides hands on training on a full scale working renewable energy system.
Renewable energy tracks, electrical technology program
KCC’s renewable energy track is now working to integrate a market development component into its solar PV training program. This project addresses predicted, increased, regional demand for renewable energy technicians to install, maintain, and repair solar energy equipment and systems. The project promotes renewable energy job growth through collaborations with renewable energy businesses, employers, homeowners, and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association so that students graduating from these community colleges renewable energy programs will have immediate opportunities for employment.
One of the objectives of KCC’s solar PV program is to positively impact local economies by helping overcome common barriers and to intensify outreach and a pipeline for students from underrepresented and minority groups.
Solar for Schools
Partnered with Illinois Green Economy Network and Illinois State University, KCC’s Solar for Schools program offers professional development to local junior high and high school teachers to integrate solar energy curriculum and hands-on lab equipment. KCC views these schools as feeder schools for its electrical technology renewable energy track.
Power Pack Kankakee
In addition to educating students, KCC is working to educate the local public through free demonstrations on solar basics and economics through The Power Pack Kankakee. This program offers quality solar products from regional companies, delivering a lower solar-purchase cost to customers.
Leading the way in renewable energy
KCC is now partnering with colleges throughout the Midwest to replicate their solar PV market development and solar training program. Currently, some 40 students receive training annually from KCC’s renewable energy program, but that number is expected to increase substantially upon completion of a new 21,000 square foot renewable energy training facility slated for 2016.