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Obama announces grant for Purdue electric vehicle education program

August 6, 2009

Obama announces grant for Purdue electric vehicle education program

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - President Barack Obama announced Wednesday (Aug. 5) that Purdue University will receive a $6.1 million grant to develop degree and training programs for electric vehicles.

Purdue will partner with Notre Dame University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Ivy Tech Community College, Purdue University Calumet and Indiana University Northwest to develop the program. The goal is to educate and train the work force needed to design, manufacture and maintain advanced electric vehicles and the associated infrastructure.

 The Indiana Advanced Electric Vehicle Training and Education Consortium will develop certificate and associate degree programs for vehicle technicians, bachelor's and master's degree programs for electric vehicle design and manufacturing engineers, and a certificate program in electric vehicle safety for emergency responders. It also will develop an outreach program to secondary schools and a Web site to provide information on electric vehicles to the general public.

"Electrification is the future of transportation," said James Caruthers, the project director and a Purdue professor of chemical engineering. "Indiana has a long history as a leader in electrification of vehicles, and this grant will allow us to educate and train a work force prepared to continue that leadership."

Caruthers said one area the consortium will explore is developing an electric car race similar to Purdue's annual Grand Prix kart race as a way of getting young people excited about the technology.

"This is a terrific example of the state's community college and universities partnering to provide a seamless higher education system to train students for the jobs of the 21st century," said Thomas Snyder, Ivy Tech president.

"Winning this grant was the result of a powerful Indiana-based effort between private companies and higher education called the Energy Systems Network," said Victor L. Lechtenberg, Purdue vice provost for engagement. "The goal is to make Indiana a center of energy innovation."

Paul Mitchell, CEO of Energy Systems Network, said: "Indiana is a global hotbed for the development and manufacturing of electric vehicles and the charging technology needed to power them. This grant will ensure that we have a first-class education and work force program to prepare Hoosier for these green jobs."

Obama announced the grant during a speech in Elkhart.  The government is handing out a total of $2.4 billion in grants to 48 projects in 20 states. He said Indiana is the second largest recipient of grant funding.


Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432,  


Sources: James Caruthers, 765-494-6625,  

Victor Lechtenberg, 765-494-3200,


Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;


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