By Danny Shaw
U.S. Rep. John Dingell visited MCCC Thursday to announce new funding for the college’s nuclear engineering technology program.
The $200,000 federal earmark, sponsored by Dingell (D-Dearborn), will help the college establish its own nuclear engineering program.
According to Dingell, the benefits of the new program will reach further than just MCCC’s campus.
“We’ve got 700,000 people who need jobs in this state, and we’ve got a lot of opportunities to do things to enable those people to go to work,” Dingell said. “One of the things we are going to need is power – electric power and energy, and it’s got to be clean.”
Dingell said the earmark will help enable MCCC to train students to work in the field of nuclear energy, a field he said is quickly gaining speed in Michigan.
“We’re getting the people ready so they can take the jobs that they need,” Dingell said. “That is going to require better and better, and more and more, education.”
Dr. David Nixon, MCCC president, said the program couldn’t be possible without the federal earmark.
“It costs a lot of money to develop new programs,” Nixon said. “Without the funding that was announced today by Congressman Dingell and other assistance from DTE, we could not afford to come up with half-a-million dollars to start a new program.”
Nixon said additional funds were allocated for the new program through the MCCC Foundation.
Jack Davis, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer at Detroit Edison, said six of his staff members are currently working in conjunction with MCCC to create the curriculum for the new program and to work as adjunct professors.
“We continue to look for opportunities to assist the faculty and enhance the learning experience for the students,” Davis said.
The current nuclear engineering technology program is a collaboration between MCCC and Kirkland, Ohio’s Lakeland Community College.
According to Nixon, the earmark funds will allow MCCC to house its own equipment and create curriculum that is customized for DTE, Michigan’s nuclear energy partner, instead of operations geared toward LCC’s partner, First Energy.
The funds also will create a tuition assistance program to aid in costs for nuclear engineering technology students, Nixon said.
“It’s a little milestone along the way to developing these programs,” Nixon said. “But it sets itself up as a good model for all of those new technologies out there that we are just discovering.”