A $250,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) awarded to Willdan Group in partnership with New York Institute of Technology will help support the university’s efforts to develop research and training opportunities in the area of energy efficiency. Willdan provides engineering and energy solutions for public and private utilities and public agencies of government and commercial and industrial firms.
The activities at New York Tech will be led by Principal Investigator Ehsan Kamel, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Engineering and Computing Sciences, in collaboration with Amy Bravo, M.A., senior director of experiential education. New York Tech faculty and students will partner with the Willdan Group to enable researchers, students, and other organizations to find solutions to improve buildings’ energy efficiency and provide training for the future workforce in this field.
“Energy efficiency is a global priority and a U.N. sustainable goal. Developing skills in technologies and techniques to enhance energy efficiency is a dominant driver of growth of the U.S. economy,” says Babak Beheshti, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering and Computing Sciences. “New York Tech, through this NYSERDA-supported project, will be able to find new pathways to contribute directly to local workforce development in energy efficiency.”
Kamel notes: “We plan to use our campus buildings as living labs to provide hands-on research and training opportunities for different aspects of energy efficiency. This includes but is not limited to collecting energy-related data from buildings, performing energy simulations, creating energy portfolios, and energy benchmarking.”
“The experiential education component of the initiative—involving students in the research and development of sustainable solutions—along with career development and job placement assistance after the training, is what makes this holistic program unique,” Bravo explains.
In addition, the initiative further expands NYSERDA’s and the college’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The research and training offerings will be promoted to underrepresented communities, providing opportunities for as many as 150 students and professionals to gain new skill sets to answer the needs of energy efficiency industry and market trends, while creating a highly skilled, diverse workforce.
“We are confident that by partnering with New York Tech and leveraging their robust energy, design, and engineering programs and educational infrastructure we will be much better equipped to prepare the necessary workforce to meet the fast-growing needs and goals on New York state’s climate and clean energy policy initiatives,” said Antuan Cannon, small and medium size business deputy program manager for Willdan Group.
This story was contributed by Ehsan Kamel and Amy Bravo.