The Energy Academy breaks new ground to prepare students for jobs

A. PetersonWhen Supt. Barbara Eason-Watkins of Michigan City Area (MCAS) Schools was inducted as a Fellow in The Society of Innovators at the 12th Annual Induction on Oct. 20th, she talked about how La PorteCounty high school students can prepare for high demand jobs in the electronics, energy and utility industries. Dr. Eason-Watkins highlighted the rich curricula of the first-in-the-state EnergyAcademy sponsored by NIPSCO and launched by Director Audra Peterson (left).  This is thanks to a unique partnership between NIPSCO, La Porte County Career and Technical Education, and MCAS schools, Audra said, who broke new ground as director of Career and Technical Education.  Now in its third year at the A.K. Smith Career Center in Michigan City, this unique program started with 18 students and began this year with 36 students. “Indiana didn’t recognize energy as a career pathway until La Porte County Career and Technical Education and the Michigan CityAreaSchools worked as a team with industry and education,” Audra added. Working to develop the curriculum based upon best practices elsewhere, the program was launched after

NIPSCO’s Kris Emus approached Michigan City with the need to replace up to 60% of the workforce that could retire by 2021. Winning against two other school systems, this team started on the program in 2012 and introduced it in 2014. Offering five certifications, the Energy Academy is now a model for Indiana and the nation.

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