Partnership connecting area students with businesses receives grant
Program focuses on promoting renewable energy, educational opportunities
For Hub City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Based on the success of two previous grants, Constellation Energy has awarded a third $45,000 grant to Incourage’s Business Education Partnership. The Business Education Partnership is a collaboration of four public and two private school systems, Mid-State Technical College, and 10 area businesses focused on narrowing the skills gap in science, technology, engineering, and math fields.
“Building Energy Education Pathways,” or Project “BEEP,” engages participating schools in energy curriculum and instruction and includes capital projects to demonstrate renewable energy systems. To date, the grants have provided energy education to over 1,100 area students.
“This grant provides opportunities for ongoing collaboration among school systems, community organizations, and engaged businesses,” said Rick Merdan, Incourage grant coordinator. “Incourage is pleased to facilitate collaborative sustainability educational opportunities that help to shape a strong and inclusive local economy in south Wood County.”
This grant will expand solar photovoltaic installations to area middle schools and provide high school students the opportunity to earn scholarships to attend one of Mid-State’s three renewable energy programs: renewable energy specialist, solar electric technician, and sustainable heating and cooling.
“These renewable systems designed by Mid-State students and installed by high school students create a lasting educational tool while delivering free, clean, and sustainable energy to the schools,” said Mid-State Technical College instructor Ben Nusz. “This project has so many unique benefits on so many levels.”
The grant also incorporates further energy education curriculum from Mid-State’s renewable energy programs into additional schools and provides sponsorship for the area’s first “Solar Olympics” competition, which will be held at Mid-State’s Wisconsin Rapids campus.
“The Constellation grants have provided needed resources to further help contextualize science and technology curriculum. The students aren’t just learning about renewable energy from a book. They are actively optimizing real systems through hands-on learning,” said Eric Siler, Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools career and technical education coordinator.