RE-ENERGYSE trains students to take on the world of energy
Today, more than 100 universities, student groups, and professional associations signed a letter drafted by the Breakthrough Institute (read the press release) urging the U.S. Senate to fund RE-ENERGYSE, a program aimed at ‘REgaining our ENERGY Science and Engineering Edge’.
RE-ENERGYSE had been gaining speed ever since it was introduced by name in President Obama’s April 29 speech before the National Academy of Sciences. On-par with similar proposals, $115 million for RE-ENERGYSE was figured into the DOE’s budget two weeks later.
However, as Science reported on July 8, Congress sent the proposal back to the DOE, demanding a distinction between current and potential future programmatic efforts. RE-ENERGYSE was given $7 million, embarrassingly shy of $150 million requested. In other words, it was rejected.
RE-ENERGYSE is not just boosting post-doc positions and graduate education – it also provides critically important technical training. According to the DOE, the program would develop 5,000-8,500 scientists, engineers, and other professionals to enter the clean energy field by 2015, which would rise to 10,000-17,000 by 2020. Technical Training and K-12 Education would create 200-300 community college and other programs to prepare thousands of technically skilled workers for clean energy jobs.
The DOE FY2010 budget calls it an initiative to “build the foundation of a vibrant American workforce to participate in the green economy”. One of the raw ingredients for the workforce is quality education, and RE-ENERGYSE aims to provide precisely that – not just better materials science graduates, but better solar panel engineers.
When the low-hanging fruit from various emissions reductions run out, the groups signing the letter hope that quality education will have been in the mix for a long time.
(Photo credit: Time Out Kids)
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