Berkshire Community College (BCC) announced today that it had received a $201,067 grant from the Northeast Utilities Foundation to fund the purchase of training equipment and educational materials for the establishment a Sustainable Energy Resource Training Center on its main campus in Pittsfield.
The college is transforming its Ralph Hoffmann Environmental Center into a "green" training center for the teaching of a new curriculum to address the growing need for skilled individuals certified in fields related to the construction, installation and maintenance of renewable energy systems.
"It's really exciting to be part of the transformation of our campus into a model for sustainable energy programs and initiatives occurring within the state," said Dr. Paul Raverta, BCC's president. "I want to thank Peter Clarke, Marie van Luling and the Northeast Utilities Foundation for this generous and transformational gift. Everyone at BCC looks forward to a growing partnership where we will be working together on behalf of our students for many years to come."
"When completed, this training center will supply the skilled workers of the future who are so urgently needed to advance the development of the nascent renewable energy industry in the Commonwealth," said Peter Clarke, president of Western Massachusetts Electric Co. (WMECo), and a member of the board of the Northeast Utilities Foundation. WMECo recently completed construction of New England's largest solar generation plant in Pittsfield a short distance from the BCC campus, and is planning a second solar plant on a capped landfill in Springfield.
The Sustainable Energy Resource Training Center, combined with the new curriculum, is expected to enable the college to provide certification programs for renewable energy specialists such as those involved in the development and installation of solar heating, wind and photovoltaic systems, as well as for energy auditors, technicians trained in weatherization and air sealing.
About Berkshire Community College
Berkshire Community College (BCC) is a public, fully accredited, community college offering associate degree and certificate programs, as well as various other educational opportunities, primarily to the residents of Berkshire County and surrounding areas. The first community college in Massachusetts, this year BCC is proud to celebrate its 50th Anniversary.
About Northeast Utilities Foundation
The Northeast Utilities Foundation, established by NU in 1998 and supported by Northeast Utilities' operating companies (Connecticut Light & Power Co., Yankee Gas Services Co., Western Massachusetts Electric Co. and Public Service of New Hampshire), has benefited charitable partners in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire with total donations of more than $12 million. The Foundation's focus areas are education for workforce development, environmental stewardship and economic development. For more information on the Northeast Utilities Foundation, please visit www.northeastutilitiesfoundation.org.