The purpose of the Agriculture-based Renewable Energy Center (AREC) is to build a workforce development infrastructure to advance curricula, programs, and resources in this field. The project's vision is to increase the number of rural students who pursue and complete a two-year postsecondary degree to strengthen their rural economy while helping meet the nation’s energy demands. The targeted audience for the AREC program is rural high school and postsecondary students and technicians, and the educators who train them.
Outcomes and products resulting from the program include:
- A Defining Agriculture-based Renewable Energy Technologies and Services Occupational Report and accompanying chart
- Updated and research-based renewable energy curricula in modular and online formats
- 2+2+2 pathways model program
- Clearinghouse of ag-based renewable energy materials for students, educators, and technicians
- A professional development workshop for secondary and postsecondary educators
- Regional professional development instructors’ conference sessions
The project's intended impact includes an increased number of high school and community college educators who are better prepared to teach in the ag-based renewable energy field. The ultimate impact will be an increased number of rural students enrolling in ag-based renewable energy programs and working in ag-based renewable energy jobs.
AREC partners are the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, Hawkeye Community College, Iowa State University, and the Partnership for Environmental Technology Education.