Rowan College at Burlington County’s (RCBC) first Solar Ready Vets program graduates, and the third graduating class of the college’s Women in Sustainable Employment (WISE) program, were celebrated at the Enterprise Center in Mount Laurel.
The programs, offered through RCBC’s Workforce Development Institute, provided free training to military members transitioning out of the service and women to prepare them for new careers in energy and construction industries.
Eleven students from Solar Ready Vets, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy, graduated in a ceremony in the Enterprise Center. The students are all military members from either the Army, Air Force or Navy who are preparing to enter civilian life.
“These military members who are transitioning out the service are uniquely qualified for new careers in the growing field of solar energy because of the hands-on training they received at Rowan College at Burlington County and the technical and interpersonal skills they gained in the service,” said Burlington County Freeholder Ryan Peters, a former Navy SEAL and current Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserve.
To read more stories aobut RCBC, scroll down:
RCBC: Student Chosen as NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar
Big Changes Coming to RCBC this Year
According to The Solar Foundation, New Jersey is one of the top 20 solar job states. In addition, a Solar Energy Industries Association’s report found that New Jersey was the fourth largest “Solar State” based on cumulative solar electric capacity installed.
The six-week Solar Ready Vets program prepared participants for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners Entry Level Exam and solar-related jobs like photovoltaic (PV) system installers, sales representatives, and system inspectors. They also had the opportunity to meet with 14 different solar energy employer partners.
Solar Ready Vets Program Manager from the U.S. Department of Energy Stephanie Kline, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Commander Colonel Frederick D. Thaden, and Solar Ready Vets graduate U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Steven Gatchell spoke at the graduation ceremony.
“The Solar Ready Vets Program is a really great opportunity,” said Col. Frederick D. Thaden, 87th Air Base and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst commander. “JB MDL is one of only 10 bases nationwide that hosts this program. Solar Ready Vets is a fantastic opportunity for our service members because the program provides the high-quality training needed to confidently transition from military duty into the civilian work force. Through SRV, our veterans gain knowledge, marketable skills, and an opportunity for a successful future.”
On Thursday, Jan. 12 at 3:30 p.m. in the Enterprise Center, room 135, 12 women graduated from RCBC’s third WISE class. WISE prepares women for nontraditional employment opportunities in energy and construction industries. The program introduces women to positions that include mechanic, laborer, plant operator, carpenter and meter reader.
“More than a third of our graduates from the first and second WISE programs have new careers with leading utility companies,” said RCBC President Paul Drayton. “The program is a successful example of Rowan College at Burlington County’s, and the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholder’s, shared vision of public and private partnerships that will benefit the community by providing students with in-demand skills and companies with a prepared workforce.”
WISE is supported by a partnership among the college, Burlington County Workforce Development Board, PSEG, New Jersey American Water, South Jersey Gas, Atlantic City Electric, The Sisters in the Brotherhood – Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, and New Jersey Resources, a natural gas provider in northern and central New Jersey.
To learn more about the Solar Ready Vets program, please visit gomdl.com/solar-ready-vets. The next Solar Ready Vets class starts at RCBC on Monday, March 6. This class will be open to military members transitioning out of the service, honorably discharged veterans, as well as civilians.
Interested WISE participants are encouraged to attend an information session. For more information on the WISE program or to register for an information session, please contact Linda Bobo of the Rowan College at Burlington County Workforce Development Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org or 856-222-9311, ext. 2535.
RCBC: Student Chosen as NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar
Rowan College at Burlington County student Eric Shaw was selected to be a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar (NCAS).
NCAS was held at the Langley Research Center, in Virginia. The program is an educational experience for students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. Students apply and participate in a month long online workshop, if they score high enough in the class they can attend the four-day on-site experience. Community College STEM students get an authentic NASA experience through this program.
Shaw, of Cherry Hill, who is majoring in both Physics and Mathematics, was not only selected to participate in the online workshop, but was chosen to participate in the on-site experience.
“It was an amazing opportunity that truly furthered my desire to go into the STEM field,” Shaw said. “To be able to meet other students with the same desires and work with them as a team for four days was an experience that couldn’t have been better.”
The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Division at RCBC has become a premier destination students interested in a STEM career thanks to a new 3+1 path to a biology degree from Rowan University, a National Science Foundation grant that is creating an Advanced Manufacturing Center in partnership with Rowan University and the Burlington Institute of Technology, and the innovative Undergraduate Research Initiative that has led to national recognition for students such as Shaw.
“It is wonderful to see our STEM students being selected for prominent national programs outside of the classroom,” said RCBC President Paul Drayton. “Rowan College at Burlington County’s STEM Division strives to include new technologies into academic programs and stay up to date with the newest technological advancements to prepare our students for the best jobs in the 21st century.”
Shaw participated in the college’s Undergraduate Research Initiative and along with his team presented The Europa Project. The goal of this project was to develop a type of robot that would be sent on a mission to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. This robot would go to Europa on a lander and move around separately to collect data, images and samples of the moon. NASA is planning the Europa Multiple Flyby Mission that is set to launch in the 2020s. The students built the prototype robot and submitted the idea to NASA.
“I would match the quality of our RCBC engineering students against any school, anywhere. The innovation shown by Eric demonstrates the exceptional quality of these students, and many of our UGR students have gone onto other institutions and corporations in team leadership roles,” said RCBC Physics Instructor Greg Perugini. “The Europa project was a great success, and there are many safety, reconnaissance and military applications for this type of robot. The experience with using this technology will take these students far in the workplace.”
Big Changes Coming to RCBC this Year
In order to further her career aspirations in the medical field, Edgewater Park resident Hayley Brunetta, took advantage of one of the biggest changes coming to Rowan College at Burlington County.
“I did the math and it just makes sense,” said 19-year-old Brunetta of the 3+1 program.
Brunetta, who is majoring in biology, is among the first students to take junior-level courses as part of the 3+1 program on the Mount Laurel campus.
The program was named one of Money Magazine’s top five college affordability initiatives in the nation and can save a student up to $75,000 on their bachelor’s degree.
“RCBC is the first college in New Jersey to offer the junior-level 3+1 courses,” said RCBC President Paul Drayton.
“It is one of the most significant changes we have made to the college and it sets us apart from other institutions while offering a real solution to the higher education affordability issue too many students and their families are forced to face.”
Brunetta said she was considering attending Rutgers University, but realized she would be paying thousands of dollars more for the same quality degree she could get through the 3+1 program with RCBC and Rowan University.
Students in the 3+1 program attend RCBC for their freshman, sophomore and junior years and Rowan University for their final year, bringing the total cost of an associate degree from RCBC, plus a bachelor’s degree from Rowan University, to about $25,000.
Starting in January, students can take 3+1 courses in law and justice, biology and liberal arts with a concentration in law and justice, and philosophy. The junior-level courses will be taught by RCBC faculty, at RCBC prices, and students will still have access to their familiar academic support systems at RCBC.
Analiese LaVine, of Medford, learned about the 3+1 program through RCBC Criminal Justice Coordinator and Instructor Joseph Rizzo, who will be teaching a junior-level course in the spring semester.
After hearing about the program in class, LaVine said, “I did the research and talked to an advisor. I wanted to go to Rowan University and it just made sense to do 3+1.
“You’ve got to save money in life,” explained LaVine. “I like saving a lot of money and I like going home and being near family.”
The 21-year-old studied law at Burlington County Institute of Technology, transferred to RCBC to major in criminal justice, and is now taking the seamless path to earn her bachelor’s in law and justice from Rowan University.
“Having Rowan University’s classes on the Mount Laurel campus is convenient and the partnership between RCBC and the university made transferring very easy,” said LaVine. “I tell everyone I know about 3+1.”
Since RCBC and the university formed a partnership in June 2015, the number of students choosing to transfer to Rowan University has more than doubled.
Four more 3+1 majors will be available on the Mount Laurel campus come fall 2017, including psychology, nursing, computing and informatics, and general studies. More majors, including education and computer science, will be coming soon.
“We aligned the majors with our students’ interests and choose the degree programs that had jobs waiting for them at the end of the day,” said Drayton.
Looking at the campus from Route 38, it is hard to miss the other changes. The shell the state-of-the-art Student Success Center, the centerpiece of the Mount Laurel Campus transformation, is complete. The building, set to open in fall 2017, will serve as a one-stop-shop for all of student services.
“RCBC’s vision for the transformation is to provide students with the same feel and same quality experience that they would have at any four-year institution across United States, right here in Mount Laurel,” explained Drayton.
The college has been moving quickly to meet the transformation deadlines and has already completed the extension of College Drive, so that it now makes a complete loop around the entire campus.
A new campus quad, which will be completed before the fall 2017 semester, will be large enough to hold events such as graduation, concerts or movies and create walking paths to make getting around campus easier. By fall 2017, all nursing, dental hygiene, imaging and health information technology courses will be taught from the new Health Sciences Center, formerly the Briggs Road Center. All of this is in addition to many of the renovations taking place inside the current buildings on campus.
“We are excited to welcome students to a more connected, sophisticated, and engaged college campus experience in 2017,” said Drayton. “We are doing this for our students, because students come first at RCBC.”
Article was printed in the Burlington County Times.
Categories: Public 2-Year Schools