Calhoun Community College, Decatur, Alabama
Calhoun Community College was awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Labor in order to train students and workers to meet the needs of the rapidly emerging green energy workforce. This funding was used to develop the solar program. Students in the Renewable Energy program will learn and train in the brand new, state of the art Alabama Center for Excellence in Clean Energy Technology (ACE-CET) facility on the Calhoun campus, and will leave Calhoun prepared to excel in this rapidly expanding industry.
The Associate of Applied Science degree in Advanced Manufacturing with a major in Renewable Energy Technology will prepare graduates with the applicable principles and knowledge of solar, wind and hydropower energy technology and instill a broader understanding of the scientific, economic and political context of the industry. Calhoun Community College was recently awarded over $3.4 million from the U.S. Department of Labor in order to train students and workers to meet the needs of the rapidly emerging green energy workforce. Students In the Renewable Energy program will learn and train in the brand new, state of the art, Alabama Center for Excellence in Clean Energy Technology (ACECET) facility on the Decatur campus, and will leave Calhoun prepared to excel In this rapidly expanding industry.
Through the ACECET program, Calhoun will be the first accredited training center for renewable energy technology in Alabama, and will serve as the state’s launching pad for renewable energy professionals. Typical base salary is $38,000 – $40,000. Base salary does not include overtime or benefits.
Case Study Interview
1. What inspired you to spearhead the effort to integrate solar content into your courses, curriculum, or programs?
At Calhoun we had a group of people to pitch the need for solar and energy efficient classes to us. The group could see the need for trained technicians in the future. TVA was also a participant in this process as they wanted to offer incentives for solar but understood our area didn’t have workers with the correct skill sets.
2. What major obstacles did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
Our biggest problem was and still is today, people in positions of influence with out of date information. Technology instructors at secondary and post-secondary who had not updated their data base relative to cost and capacity. We also had problems with old school solar experts that wanted to design every system as a one off. We worked on this by offering free pv classes where we had the opportunity to talk to them about pay back periods with updated data.
3. What were the keys to successfully achieving solar content integration (e.g., support of a person or persons; part of a planned curriculum improvement project; recommendations from industry or an advisory board; etc.)?
Having a solar champion with enough money (grant) to take the risk out of development and learning.
4. How long did the process take from initial concept presentation or proposal to implementation?
Six months for college approvals, six months for funding, one year to develop the curriculum.
5. Was this primarily a one-person effort, or did you have one or more partners who shared a significant portion of the workload?
Having a champion is critical but that person must have a team of believers. Our success was not due to one person but a team of people.
6. What products or services from your Regional Training Provider (RTP) and the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN) were most useful to you in achieving solar content integration at your institution?
the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) was very instrumental they provided faculty professional training for solar and thermal, but they also provided leadership for us in the early days.
7. Are there other products or services that you would suggest for the RTPs and/or the SITN to offer that would be helpful in the process of implementing solar content integration?
More on the sales side, business side. Maybe some work on standardize solar processes.
8. Would you be willing to share course proposals, curriculum improvement proposals, and/or curriculum outlines for the courses, curriculum, and programs that you used as part of the solar content integration process?
9. If yes, would you agree to have these materials available on the IREC web site (with links from the RTP web sites)?
10. Would you be willing to be listed as a contact person on the IREC web site to share your solar content integration experience with other interested parties?
11. Would you be willing and able to specify all occupations for which the training that you offer applies (e.g., this program trains students for these occupations/jobs)?
12. Was specific funding appropriated for solar content integration into related course, curriculum, and/or program development?
Yes we had a Department of Labor grant, very important
13. If special funding was available, would you be willing to share the amount of funding on the IREC web site?
DESIRED STUDENT LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Prepare graduates with the applicable principles and knowledge of solar, wind, and hydropower energy technology and instill a broader understanding of the scientific, economic and political context of the industry.
General Education Core Requirements
ORI 101 Orientation to College | 1 (1T)
ENG 101 English Composition I | 3 (3T)
MTH 103 Technical Mathematics | 3 (3T)
SPH 107 Fundamentals of Public Speaking | 3 (3T)
Humanities Elective | 3 (3T)
Social Science Elective | 3 (3T)
Natural Science or MTH Elective | 3 (3T)
CIS 146 Microcomputer Applications | 3 (3T)
Subtotal: 23 (23T)
Advanced Manufacturing Core Courses Requirements
ADM 100 Industrial Safety | 3 (3T)
ADM 101 Precision Measurement | 3 (2T, 2E)
ADM 102 Computer Aided Design | 3 (1T, 4E)
ADM 103 Intro to Comp Int Mfg/Materials & Processes | 3 (2T, 2E)
ADM 104 Intro to Thermal/Electrical Principles | 3 (1T, 4E)
ADM 105 Fluid Systems | 3 (1T, 4E)
ADM 106 Quality Control Concepts |3 (2T, 3M)
Subtotal: 21 (12T, 16E, 3M)
Air Conditioning & Electrical Course Requirements
ELT 108 DC Electricity | 3 (1T, 4E)
ELT 109 AC Electricity |3 (1T, 4E)
ACR 113 Refrigeration Piping Practices | 3 (1T, 6M)
ACR 187 Special Topics in ACR | 5 (3T, 6M)
REN 105 Renewable Technology Awareness | 1 (1T, 4E)
REN 115 Photovoltaic Systems Principles & Design | 3 (1T, 4E)
REN 205 Solar Thermal Principles | 3 (1T, 4E)
REN 215 Photovoltaic Systems Install. & Serv. Procedures | 3 (1T, 4E)
*ACR or ELT Electives | 6 (2T, 8E)
Subtotal: 30 (12T, 32E, 12M)
TOTAL CREDITS | 73 (46T, 48E, 15M)
* Air Conditioning Specialization take ACR 119 and ACR 120
* Electrical specialization take ELT 110 and ELT 117
CREDIT HOUR EQUIVALENCIES – The ratio of weekly contact hours to credit hours varies with the type of instruction being used. The College will recognize the following methods or types of instruction:
- THEORY (T) One hour of theory instruction under the supervision of an instructor plus an average of two hours of out-of class study per week. 1:1
- EXPERIMENTAL LABORATORY (E) Two hours of experimental laboratory under the supervision of an instructor plus an average of one hour of out-of-class assignments per week. 2:1
- MANIPULATIVE LABORATORY (M) – Three hours of practice/manipulative laboratory under the supervision of an instructor with no out-of-class assignments per week. 3:1
TOTAL INSTRUCTION HOURS FOR THE PROGRAM OF STUDY: 73 credit hours