Nicholls Awarded $1.8M Engineering Technology Program Grant

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University will be awarded a $1.8 million grant to create a new degree program in the engineering field. As part of the South Louisiana H2theFuture Energy Transformation Coalition, Nicholls will offer students the Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Technology and provide career-ready training for students to join the emerging clean energy workforce in Louisiana.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $50 million federal grant to H2theFuture, a 25-organization partnership of institutions and businesses across South Louisiana, of which Nicholls is a member.

Led by Greater New Orleans, Inc. and its affiliate Greater New Orleans Development Foundation, H2theFuture will develop and implement a clean hydrogen cluster strategy that will retain and create Louisiana jobs while substantially lowering carbon emissions in the South Louisiana industrial corridor. 

Nicholls will develop its new engineering technology curriculum focused on serving the needs of new energy generation and delivery in south Louisiana and, in the process, support dislocated, incumbent and new workers emerging from the oilfield downturn, Hurricane Ida and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Energy and engineering industry advisors to Nicholls have indicated that the type of graduate produced by this type of program will be the most employable in the future. Not only will graduates facilitate electrical and mechanical engineering projects, but they will also manage construction projects, coordinate building and maintenance operations and conduct inspections through a variety of methods including unmanned aerial vehicles. 

“The H2theFuture grant will fund a brand new engineering technology degree program at Nicholls focused on preparing students for the emerging renewable energy industry in Louisiana,” says Dr. John Doucet, dean of the college of sciences and technology, director of coastal initiatives and project leader. “With this funding, Nicholls will be providing high-quality engineering technologists to satisfy workforce needs as well as preparing our students for high-paying technical jobs and careers.”

These and other non-industry partners have advised and supported Nicholls on the recent development of the Coastal Center, a research and education center under development that will be focused on science and engineering solutions to coastal and estuarine problems.

“We are proud to be a member of the H2theFuture initiative and so appreciative of this generous grant,” Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune said. “Engineering Technology is a field in demand in our service region, and this will provide the opportunity to earn a degree at Nicholls for these ever-important jobs.”

Louisiana is perhaps better positioned for a clean hydrogen cluster than any other state, with the highest per-capita use of industrial H2 in the United States, and many other intrinsic advantages. These include:

  • Having the densest pipeline system in the America, including the largest hydrogen system, stretching more than 700-miles from Galveston Bay in Texas to New Orleans
  • Being home to the second largest port complex in the Western Hemisphere
  • Having the fourth largest offshore wind energy potential in the U.S.
  • Partnering with multiple universities skilled in energy training
  • Being home to major private sector industrial companies already leading the hydrogen revolution like CF Industries, Dow and Shell

To learn more about H2theFuture Energy Transformation in South Louisiana coalition, visit https://h2thefuture.org/.  

To learn more about The Coastal Center at Nicholls State University, visit https://www.nicholls.edu/coastal-center/

For more information on the Nicholls College of Sciences and Technology and the new engineering technology program, visit https://www.nicholls.edu/sciences-technology/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 13, 2022

MEDIA CONTACT: Jerad David, Director of Communications, 985.448.4303 or jerad.david@nicholls.edu

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