Gateway Technical college has received a $141,000 grant from the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education program to develop an expanded curriculum to train technicians for the geoexchange industry.
The grant addresses the need for qualified earth drillers by funding curriculum development to train students in drilling for geoexchange systems. Gateway is the only U.S. site to offer training in this type of drilling.
While the Gateway-developed curriculum would be national, Gateway would be the first to provide it to students.
The curriculum would provide for a certified process for geoexchange technology -- specifically drilling -- which could be used as a standalone associate degree program or incorporated into existing college programs such and heating, venting and air conditioning technologies. Gateway has a year from receiving the money to finish the curriculum, to be developed by two instructors.
A shortage of qualified earth drillers is preventing the widespread adoption of ground source heat pumps. Making a drilling curriculum available at a technical community college also would allow recruitment of unemployed, underemployed and dislocated workers, including minorities and females, which is a project priority.
UW-Parkside will partner with Gateway, as well as Alliant Energy, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 2dx2, Baroid Industrial Drilling products and Ferris State University.