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TNO, ASU awarded training contract in the Caribbean

An instructor explains details of a solar panel to students.

An instructor explains details of a solar panel to students.

The Caribbean Branch Office of TNO, in partnership with Arizona State University’s Advanced Technology Innovation Center, has been awarded a three-year contract to train a renewable-energy workforce in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica.

The project is funded through the Inter-American Development Bank, the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The training is part of the program Building Capacity and Regional Integration for the Development of a Generation of Entrepreneurs (BRIDGE). The program develops human capital, while encouraging gender equality, to meet the demand for technicians, professionals and entrepreneurs in the sustainable energy and information and communication technology in the Caribbean.

The need for sustainable energy continues to increase in the Caribbean, driving a demand for trained workforce to design, operate and maintain these systems.

The Inter-American Development Bank and its partner organizations launched the BRIDGE program to bridge the gap between the current workforce and capacity and skills level and the future workforce required to meet the demands of sustainable energy systems.

“The need for a sustainable-energy workforce in the Caribbean is growing every day,” said Anshuman Razdan, ASU professor of computer science and executive director of the Advanced Technology Innovation Center. “We can help prepare the region for that growing demand by sharing our expertise. We can teach direct skills, as well as help the region build its capacity to do its own training.”

The project team will establish a baseline of the current technical and professional capacity and estimate future demand. Based on identified gaps, it will design training programs, working with the University of the West Indies and other technical and vocational training institutions.

The program will include a train-the-trainer initiative, as well as training for technicians and professionals. It also will implement an internship program and develop an online innovation platform.

“Development of sustainable energy resources and increasing energy efficiency creates opportunities for new jobs,” said Ruurd Schoolderman, strategic advisor/energy of TNO’s Caribbean branch office, Aruba, and BRIDGE project manager. “However, to capitalize on this you need a trained workforce in place.

“The BRIDGE program will help address this through an internship program and development of an entrepreneurship platform. This will help students gain real-life experience and strengthen the linkage between education and employers.”

For more information, contact Ruurd Schoolderman, BRIDGE project manager, at [email protected], or (218) 251-6174, or Anshuman Razdan, professor and executive director of ASU’s Advanced Technology Innovation Center, at [email protected].

About TNO: The Caribbean Branch Office TNO was established in 2011 at the invitation of the government of Aruba to assist in the country’s transition to sustainable energy and to help develop a regional center of expertise and in clean technology. It is committed to an efficient, reliable and sustainable transition from fossil to renewable fuels and the sustainable management of natural resources. The Office has a local Aruban staff that works closely with experts at the Dutch TNO. It serves the broader South American and Caribbean region.

About ASU’s Advanced Technology Innovation Center: The Advanced Technology Innovation Center was established in 2006 on ASU’s Polytechnic campus to develop highly effective and efficient solutions using the most skilled contemporary science and technology talent. It fosters collaboration between ASU and small and medium enterprises.

About the Inter-American Development Bank: The Inter-American Development Bank was established in 1959, and is the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. It works to reduce poverty and inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean and supports sustainable, climate-friendly development. In addition to regular banking services, it provides grants and technical assistance and conducts research.

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Judy Nichols, [email protected]
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

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