The American Electric Power Foundation has awarded a $250,000 grant to West Virginia State University (WVSU) to help equip laboratories in the University’s new bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering program.
“As West Virginia seeks to diversify its economy, West Virginia State University is committed to educating students in fields that support new and emerging industries,” said WVSU President Anthony L. Jenkins. “This new bachelor’s in chemical engineering will provide economic opportunities for citizens of central and southern West Virginia. I want to thank the American Electric Power Foundation for their investment in our students, and for supporting the workforce development needs of the state and region.”
The grant from the AEP Foundation will be used to help equip laboratories used by students with state-of-the-art hands-on learning experiences in their engineering coursework as well as support faculty and undergraduate student research.
“Practically every career path we have at Appalachian Power has a strong STEM component,” said Appalachian Power President and COO Chris Beam. “Industries across West Virginia and beyond need more young people who are strong in these fields to fill the jobs we have here in West Virginia and beyond. We are excited that West Virginia State University is adding this new degree program, as a strong education system helps support the economic development initiatives within the state and the industries that will help us grow our economy.”
Beginning with the fall 2018 semester, WVSU now offers a four-year bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. The new program was approved by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the Higher Learning Commission in 2017. The launch of the new program comes after years of planning and earlier attempts that had resulted in the creation of a 2+2 engineering program at the University in 2013.
According to the West Virginia Department of Commerce, West Virginia is home to 140 different chemical-related companies that provide over 12,800 jobs to the state. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of engineers to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024. With the launch of its program, State becomes only the 10th 1890 land-grant university in the nation with an engineering program.
The AEP Foundation is funded by American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and its utility operating units, including Appalachian Power. The Foundation provides a permanent, ongoing resource for charitable initiatives involving higher dollar values and multi-year commitments in the communities served by AEP and initiatives outside of AEP’s 11-state service area.
The Foundation focuses on improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, math and the environment, and by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger. Other Foundation support may be offered to protect the environment, support healthcare and safety, and enrich life through art, music and cultural heritage.
Originally from Jack Bailey for West Virginia State University Communications.