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Monday, January 24, 2011
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Vids for Grids Brings Smart Grid to the Classroom

The challenge—Encourage tomorrow’s workforce to get energized about the electric grid The solution—Vids for Grids: New Media for the New Energy Workforce (V4G)

Last year, NEMA responded to a call from the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a well-trained, highly skilled electric power sector workforce that can implement a national Smart Grid, as well as promote economic recovery, by connecting students who need employment to power sector employers who need employees.

The resulting V4G video series demonstrates a best practice in integrating new media into engineering core curricula.

 The first two episodes of the 12-video series have been released on You Tube (www.youtube.com/vids4grids).

“Surge Arresters,” filmed at NEMA member Hubbell Power Systems, shows how distribution arresters and ground lead disconnectors improve grid reliability. “Switchgear,” filmed at NEMA member Eaton Electrical, explains how high voltage and large currents can be controlled efficiently in a large industrial facility as well as a university campus.

Future videos will address capacitors, conductors, connectors, dynamic line ratings, energy storage, flywheels, industrial automation, lighting management systems, and meters. NEMA expects to release one new video per month.

Drawing on the manufacturing expertise of its members and working in close collaboration with Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University, NEMA developed V4G
as a means to feature Smart Grid equipment, explain electrical engineering concepts, and portray careers with good employment opportunities in power engineering in a way that appeals to today’s YouTube Generation.

Each 10-minute video targets high school seniors and first-year college students, and covers a fundamental electromagnetic concept integral to the deployment of Smart Grid or a particular piece of grid equipment by incorporating brief interviews; equipment demonstration; and scenes from assembly, installation, and use.

In addition to the videos, the project will include a curriculum that can be adapted by any secondary or postsecondary school.

This program addresses the dual crisis of the outdated power grid infrastructure and the dearth of potential workers by

  • improving the image of electroindustry careers
  • attracting new students to entry-level engineering technician positions in Smart Grid and power equipment manufacturing companies, as well as similar positions throughout the energy sector
  • encouraging students to acquire math and science skills
  • facilitating institutional knowledge transfers across the generation gap between new energy sector workers and those nearing retirement

According to NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis, there is a dire need for workforce training in the electric power sector.

“Smart Grid is our future,” he said. “An aging workforce has created a brain drain in the electric power sector. This series will introduce Smart Grid concepts to tomorrow’s engineers.”

Of the approximately three million American students who complete high school annually, many lack the science, technology, engineering, and math skills necessary to pursue a technical career. This is partly due to a declining emphasis on career and technical education at the high school level, which has similarly affected the supply of skilled electric workers. The American Public Power Association reported in 2003 that the number of high school students taking trade- or industry-related vocational and technical courses had declined 35 percent in the prior 10 years.

Companies participating in V4G include A123, Beacon Power, Cooper Power Systems, Eaton Corporation, Hubbell Incorporated, Itron, Leviton, Rockwell Automation, Southwire Company, Thomas & Betts, and The Valley Group (a Nexans Company). Video services are provided by Metro Productions.

V4G is one of 54 Smart Grid workforce training programs funded by DOE through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Actof 2009, commonly referred to as ARRA or the Stimulus. It is the only one funded in Virginia and the only one awarded to a non-profit association.

We thank you for your cooperation in improving the quality of our materials.
Please contact Bill Green
at Communications@nema.org if you have any questions or suggestions related to eiXtra.

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On the Hill/Around the Nation

NLRB Proposes Rule to Require Private Sector Employers to Post Labor Rights: On December 22, 2010, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule to require private sector employers subject to the National Labor Relations Act (NRLA) to post notices informing their employees of their NLRA rights, including those pertaining to union organization. Employers would be required to post such notices where other workplace notices typically are posted. The NLRB is taking comments on the proposed rule, similar to one finalized by the Department of Labor for federal contractors, through February 22, 2011. NEMA is working with the business community through the National Association of Manufacturers and U.S. Chamber of Commerce to address this issue.

NEMA Responds to Maine’s Product Stewardship Recommendations: NEMA submitted comments on behalf of its members on a report issued by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection titled Implementing Product Stewardship in Maine. Authorized under the product stewardship (PS) framework law passed in 2010, the report urges expanding PS in the state to additional product categories and recommends changes to existing PS laws governing mercury-added lamps and e-waste. NEMA’s comments, which will accompany the report to the legislature’s joint committee on Environment and Natural Resources, outlined problems with Maine’s existing PS programs and expressed concerns about the recommended changes. NEMA looks forward to working with Maine’s new governor and legislature to resolve long-standing issues with the state’s product stewardship programs.

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International News

Connect to a World of Opportunity in the Americas
One of the most lucrative regions in the world for U.S. companies is the Americas. The countries in North America, Central America, and South America bought more than $443 billion worth of U.S. merchandise in 2009, and more that $265 billion worth of U.S. merchandise. If you are new to the Americas or are looking to tap into new markets, signature Trade Winds Forum is the ideal launching point for expansion throughout the region.

Business Development Mission to the Netherlands and Sweden
Dates: March 14–16, 2011
Apply by: January 31, 2011
Learn More: Call Delia Valdivia at 310-235-7203 or email delia.valdivia@trade.gov.
If your company manufactures airport security or general safety and security products, you may not want to miss out on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s SecEuro Business Development Mission. There is a high demand for U.S. safety and security products in Sweden and the Netherlands. We will schedule one-on-one meetings for participating U.S. companies with prospects in both countries, including potential representatives, distributors, buyers at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, and other prominent end users. For a list of best prospect products and technologies, market reports, a tentative program and registration details, please visit our website.

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NEMAcast podcast (Icon)NEMA podcast for the electroindustry.

NEMAcast focuses on news, information, and opportunities in the electroindustry. Listen online at podcast.nema.org. NEMAcast has several channels, each with a special focus on different parts of the electroindustry. Check out "Lighting Efficiency Standards with NEMA’s Justin Neumann."


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[ Industry News Archives ]


  • NEMA Supports Advanced Battery Industry
    NEMA will use the results of the recently published report of the Advanced Batteries Café to outline actions that need to be taken, in the short and long term, to enable a viable U.S. battery industry. 01/12/11

[ NEMA News Archives ]

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Market Comments by Tom Robinson
I’m beginning to sound a bit like a broken record, at least to those who remember records. The economy continues to recover but not at a fast pace, perhaps not even enough to support strong profits growth from domestic sources. read more...

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