Excelsior College Creates Course Simulations to Prepare Energy & Manufacturing Workforce

Grant’s Principal Investigator from Excelsior College to Attend National Conference on Advanced Technological Education

Albany, NY — Backed by a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Excelsior College has worked with Polk State College to develop simulations to teach and then assess key skills in power generation and advanced manufacturing to prepare technicians for the workplace. Excelsior College was the first online college to receive this NSF grant, which helps technicians with occupation-specific training and certification in the energy and manufacturing industries.

Bei Liu, one of the grant’s principal investigators and a faculty program director at Excelsior College, has been invited to join industry experts at the 26th National ATE Principal Investigators’ Conference from October 23–25, 2019, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Liu is one of approximately 850 NSF ATE (Advanced Technology Education) grantees and their project partners who will attend and focus on critical issues related to advanced technological education.

At Excelsior, the simulations are incorporated into three associate-level courses in the Technical Studies program and included within the Nuclear/Power Plant, Electronic/Instrumentation, and Electromechanical concentrations. The incorporation of the simulations closes current gaps in teaching skills and assessing learning, and helps ensure workforce readiness.

“Real-world experience gained through the use of 3-D simulations is changing the dynamics of the learning process,” says Heather Davis, corporate training director, training strategies and workforce development at Exelon Nuclear, a division of Exelon Generation, whose employees benefit from a partnership with Excelsior College.

The three courses with simulations—TECH 180 Personal Protection Equipment for Electrical Work, TECH 185 Blueprint Ready, and TECH 240 Job Tasks and Troubleshooting—are prerequisites to an Energy Industry Fundamentals course approved by the Center for Electrical Workforce Development (CEWD). After a student has taken all the three Excelsior College courses and the CEWD-approved EIF course (TECH 260), the student can take the certification exam.

Click to view a sample of a simulation. Under the grant, Excelsior College will make these simulations open education resources that can be used by colleges and industries throughout the United States.

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Media Contact: Alicia Jacobs, ajacobs@excelsior.edu               (518) 464-8531


Excelsior College (excelsior.edu) is a regionally accredited, nonprofit online college focused on helping adults complete their degrees and advance their careers. The college contributes to the development of a diverse, educated, and career-ready society by valuing lifelong learning with an emphasis on serving individuals historically underrepresented in higher education. Founded in 1971, Excelsior meets students where they are – academically and geographically – removing obstacles to the educational goals of adults pursuing continuing education and degree completion. Our pillars include innovation, flexibility, academic excellence, and integrity. Learn more at excelsior.edu.