University of Michigan's $2.5 million grant cash will go toward education for a greener auto industry
The University of Michigan aims to electrify the transportation industry, using $2.5 million in grant funds to develop new curriculum and programs.
The funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be used for undergraduate and graduate courses, high school curriculum and summer camps, and public seminars, said Huei Peng, professor in the U-M Department of Mechanical Engineering and executive director of the Interdisciplinary and Professional education programs. Peng is spearheading the effort.
"The goal is really about workforce transformation," Peng said. "We really need to move the transportation sector from its more internal combustion engine-based technology moving toward green mobility. In order to do that, we need to have undergraduate curriculum, graduate curriculum as well as K-12 and consumer education."
President Barack Obama announced last week that $2.4 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money would go for advanced battery and electric-drive projects. Michigan received $1 billion as part of the advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Education Program grants, more than any other state.
U-M, Detroit's Wayne State University and Michigan Technological University in Houghton received $10 million total for education and workforce training programs.
Peng hopes U-M's contribution to an educated workforce and public will help to transform the auto industry. Courses will be offered at U-M's Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses, as well as Kettering University in Flint.
The curriculum, which includes 10 university courses on topics like batteries, green power and hybrid electronics - as well as high school education offerings and public seminars - will be rolled out over a three-year timeline. It includes:
- For graduates, modular courses will be available online and a master's degree will be offered in energy systems and automotive engineering at the U-M Ann Arbor campus through distance learning.
- Three new labs will offer undergraduates training at U-M Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Kettering University. Courses will provide for a bachelor of science with energy concentration in Ann Arbor, with green mobility specialty at Kettering, and a concentration in electric energy at U-M Dearborn.
- U-M will partner with area high schools for 2010 through 2012; the program will be open to all area high school students. "We want students early on to understand this is not just about the automobile," Peng said. "This is really about changing the way transportation is sustained."
- Professionals will be offered Web-based short courses and face-to-face courses at the three partner campuses, as well certificate programs and graduate degrees through distance education.
- Saturday seminars will be open to the public with information from industry experts.