Clark College receives $1 million to Develop Center for Clean Energy

Clark College announced that it has received $1 million in federal funding for the purchase of clean energy technology and equipment to develop a Center for Clean Energy. The funding will be used to expand the college’s existing Mechatronics Technology and Automotive Technology programs. It will also incorporate the emerging Advanced Manufacturing program at the new Boschma Farms campus, currently under construction in Ridgefield.

The Clark College Center for Clean Energy’s scope includes solar energy, electric vehicles, wind energy, and sustainability sciences. The goal is to meet the industry need for trained, clean energy technicians for in-demand jobs in repair, maintenance, and manufacturing industries in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area. This Center will strategically engage Clark College students with local growth industries in clean energy production and advanced manufacturing, training future workers so Southwest Washington can continue to provide the quality jobs for the region.

“One of the biggest challenges is finding skilled employees to fill the high-wage jobs in these industries,“ said Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce President, John McDonagh. “We are excited to learn that Clark College students who are pursuing clean energy, manufacturing, and sustainable sciences will soon be able to train in these emerging and expanding markets.”

The college will use the funding to purchase a solar array, hydro trainer, small-scale wind tower, four electric vehicles, and other training components for the center. The funding will come from the Community Project Fund, requested under the FY 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations, Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

“Clark aims to produce graduates whose superior skills and abilities prepare them to obtain excellent jobs in clean energy industries,” Clark College President Dr. Karin Edwards said. “With diversified courses coupled with state-of-the-art technology and equipment, Clark will be able to offer affordable, hands-on training for our graduates to step into 21st-century careers.”

Clark College will use the grant for the following Clean Energy programs:

  • Mechatronics Technology program, at the forefront of training maintenance technicians for work in the power utility industry, both in the public and private sectors.
  • Automotive Technology program, with a history of training technicians for industry repair and maintenance of various electric vehicles.
  • Boschma Farms Advanced Manufacturing program, slated to begin in the winter of 2025, will train clean energy manufacturing technicians to support the manufacturing of clean energy products for solar and wind energy.

These Clean Energy programs will be led by Theo Koupelis, Clark’s Dean of Workforce, Professional and Technical Education (WPTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), whose unit includes the Advanced Manufacturing, Mechatronics, and Automotive programs.

“We are thankful for receiving federal support to strengthen our current programs at Clark College and to expand our offerings in clean energy-related programs,” said Koupelis. “This support will provide our students with excellent educational experiences and additional job opportunities in areas that will directly impact our community and state.”

About Clark College

Founded in 1933 and celebrating its 90th year, Clark College provides residents of Southwest Washington with affordable, high-quality academic and technical education. It is a public community college offering more than 100 degree and certificate programs, including bachelor’s and associate degrees; professional certificates; high school diplomas and GED preparation; and non-credit community and continuing education. Located in Vancouver’s Central Park, Clark College serves over 8,000 students per term. Clark College is Southwest Washington’s largest public institution of higher education. The college currently offers classes at two satellite locations: Washington State University Vancouver campus and Columbia Tech Center in East Vancouver. Additionally, the college broke ground this June on its new auxiliary campus, Clark College at Boschma Farms, in Ridgefield, Wash.

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