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News / Business / Clark County Business

Clark College gets $1M in federal funding to develop Center for Clean Energy

School will create programs to fill emerging, high-wage jobs

By Griffin Reilly, Columbian staff writer
Published: August 1, 2023, 5:34pm

Clark College announced Monday it has received $1 million in federal funding to develop a Center for Clean Energy.

The funds will be used to purchase clean energy technology and equipment to help produce trained clean energy technicians needed across the greater Portland area and beyond, the college said in a press release Monday.

John McDonagh, president of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, lauded the funding as a critical investment in the future of Clark County’s clean energy production.

“One of the biggest challenges is finding skilled employees to fill the high-wage jobs in these industries,” McDonagh said. “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 funding will come from the Community Project Fund, a federal program requested under the 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill.

Another step forward

The grant will enhance Clark’s Mechatronics Technology program, the Automotive Technology program and help develop the Advanced Manufacturing program at the Boschma Farms campus set to open in 2025. The college plans to purchase a solar array, hydro trainer, small-scale wind tower, four electric vehicles and more to support the new Center for Clean Energy.

Theo Koupelis — Clark’s dean of workforce, professional and technical education and science, technology, engineering and mathematics — will lead the new clean energy programs. After a difficult few years of fluctuating enrollment and lockdowns, Koupelis is optimistic about what lies ahead for the school after receiving financial support for a handful of new programs. Recently, Clark also received a $141,260 grant to develop a surgical technician program, another program the school hopes will produce graduates in high-demand science and technology fields.

“Educational institutions, especially community colleges, go through enrollment and funding cycles, often outside of our control,” Koupelis said. “We work closely with our community partners to identify business and job growth opportunities especially in STEM-related fields, and we have worked tirelessly to put in place these building blocks for the future. We are thankful for the trust and support from our legislators and community partners to help us bring to fruition these programs and projects.”

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