WPI, EPCE partner in online graduate program

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and Energy Providers Coalition for Education (EPCE) are offering online graduate degrees to people looking to expand their roles in the utility industry.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) announced a new partnership with the Energy Providers Coalition for Education (EPCE) to offer online graduate degree programs in power systems engineering beginning in fall 2011. WPI becomes the fourth educational partner to join EPCE’s national coalition, which represents two-thirds of the utility industry.

Platts Utility Data Institute predicts that over the next 10 years, more than 750 GW of new generating capacity will be installed worldwide, requiring an investment of $500 billion. 

Through EPCE, WPI is offering two online degrees—a Master of Engineering in Power Systems Engineering and a Master of Science in Power Systems Management—for the professional, degreed engineer who wants to gain new knowledge important to their critical roles in the industry. Additionally, WPI is offering online graduate certificates that compliment these master’s degrees by offering a subset of the courses.

“As a nation, we continue to seek reliable, safe and sustainable energy solutions that support our economy,” said Stephen P. Flavin, vice president of Academic and Corporate Development at WPI. “WPI is proud to offer differentiated, world-class programs that educate engineers in both their pursuit of a rewarding career, and sounder engineering solutions. The WPI and EPCE partnership is a powerful example of an alliance that supports furthering an industry, as well as the professional development of the individual. It’s an exciting venture.”

EPCE members Northeast Utilities and PJM Interconnection were reportedly instrumental in facilitating the partnership between WPI and EPCE.

Northeast Utilities currently has 70 employees who have either obtained or are pursuing their master’s degrees through the WPI program. “Along the way, I’ve asked graduates of the WPI programs for anecdotes about how their degrees helped them on the job,” said Michael Ahern, vice president of Utility Services at NU. “One employee was able to save millions of dollars on a project directly due to knowledge gained from his degree. With this kind of result, these programs can be a very smart investment.”

Janell Fabiano, senior training specialist at PJM, said the company is always looking for ways to develop their employees, and an informal conversation about graduate programs with the head of training at New England ISO led to a discussion on WPI. “PJM’s relationship with a local university offering onsite master’s in electrical engineering fizzled out, and we were looking for alternatives,” said Fabiano. “WPI’s innovative online program fit the bill, and now we’re delighted to be able to offer our employees a tuition discount through the EPCE partnership.”

The EPCE program is a signature initiative of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), an international non-profit with more than 35 years of experience in developing effective learning strategies for working adults. “This is an exciting next phase for EPCE to sponsor high-quality, online education options for engineers in the industry,” said Jo Winger de Rondon, Vice President at CAEL. “We’re really excited about this partnership with WPI.”

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