Advancing Clean Energy: MATC Partnership Aims to Prepare Workforce

Technicians working on solar panels
Nikki Sotka, left, a science teacher from Marinette, Madison Area Technical College plumbing instructor Dean Petersen and Wendy Stelzer, an educator from Stevens Point, learn to install solar panels from consultant Cris Folk during an educator workshop Wednesday at MATC’s solar lab on Commercial Avenue. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL

Most days Danielle Carlson is teaching high schoolers about renewable energy in her Fennimore classroom. This week, she was learning to install actual solar panels on a Madison rooftop.

Carlson is one of 16 high school and technical college instructors from across the country who came to Madison Area Technical College’s outdoor solar laboratory Wednesday to learn hands-on skills as part of a new effort to advance clean energy development.

Funded through a $7.5 million National Science Foundation grant, the Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technology Education — or CREATE — is a collaboration of five state, technical and community colleges from across the country.

The goal is to advance the clean energy transition by providing resources like curriculum guides, faculty workshops and industry partnerships to ensure a skilled workforce.

“We’re going through a once-in-a-century transformation in how we produce electricity,” said Ken Walz, CREATE director and MATC instructor. “We’re retiring legacy coal-fired plants … and we aren’t building any new coal-fired plants — all that capacity is being replaced with wind and solar.”

Read the full article, Advancing Clean Energy: MATC Partnership Aims to Prepare Workforce.

Sign up for the CREATE Newsletter and stay updated on the latest information in Renewable Energy Education.