La Porte County Career & Technical Education, NIPSCO Announce Energy Academy Partnership

Representatives from NIPSCO and the LaPorte County Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program announced a new partnership today designed to prepare area students for high-demand jobs in the electronics, energy, and utility industries. The Energy Academy program is the only initiative of its kind in Indiana, and it will serve students from Michigan City and five other area high schools beginning next fall at the A. K. Smith Area Career Center.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with NIPSCO on the Energy Academy,” said Audra Peterson, Director of LaPorte County CTE. “This is an example of educators working together with business to ensure we’re preparing students for success and meeting regional workforce needs.” Peterson noted that the Energy Academy collaboration has led to the development of a new Career Pathway that has been approved by the Indiana Department of Education. The pathway is expected to become a model for high schools and career and technical education programs across the state.

Energy Academy curricula will incorporate hands-on experiences in electromechanical installation and maintenance, energy and environmental technology, public utilities, and residential and commercial energy. Dual college credits for Energy Academy courses will be available to students through Ivy Tech and Purdue North Central, along with professional certifications through the Center for Energy Workforce Development and the National Center for Construction Education and Research.

“NIPSCO is committed to LaPorte County, not only in providing electric and natural service to our customers, but also as an important area of operations,” said Pete Disser, NIPSCO Chief Financial Officer. “The Energy Academy will help NIPSCO meet our future employment needs, and it will lead the way for more great partnerships.”

Funding for the project was made possible by the Nisource Foundation, which has committed $100,000 over the next three years to provide materials, equipment, training, and supplies. In addition, NIPSCO will support the project through mentors, internships, speakers, field trips, and curricular guidance.

The Energy Academy is modeled after a successful partnership between Gulf Power and West Florida High School of Advanced Technology. “A. K. Smith was selected as the site for this project because of the Michigan City Area Schools’ strong commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, beginning in the elementary grades,” said Disser. “This Academy is a natural progression for area students interested in engineering and electronics as they move on to high school.”

Parents and students interested in learning more about the Energy Academy (and the 15 other career tracks offered through the La Porte County CTE Program ) are invited to attend an Open House on Wednesday, November 6 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the A. K. Smith Career Center, 817 Lafayette Street, Michigan City.