Broadening Education, Access, and Momentum (BEAM) in Energy Management and Controls Technology
To meet a growing need for trained technicians in energy building automation, Valencia College will develop an Associate in Science degree program in Energy Management and Controls Technology. The first to be developed in Florida, the need was driven in consultation with major regional employers and the need to train future workers in a technical field that has economic and environmental impacts. The program aligns with the regional movement toward the establishment of standards for energy use by businesses, especially industries that support high occupancy rates and sales including those with high energy consumption such as the commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors. These sectors have a staggering impact on energy consumption. As business operations and energy consumption further intersect, the national need has increased for building automation technicians trained in technologies related to controls and systems engineering, computer software, and networking. These technicians will operate and maintain complex, high-performance buildings, ensuring occupant health, energy conservation, and financial savings.
The new program will offer rigorous technical courses taught in creative ways, in particular, using Valencia's own facilities as a living laboratory. Along with a fully-equipped laboratory designed to build technical skills and competencies on specific industry equipment, the hands on living lab will include learning outcomes targeting buildings, construction, and land use. Laboratory content will include: (a) data analysis through tracking patterns of the college's energy usage, (b) math skills to perform energy audits and calculate energy flow and life-cycle cost analysis, (c) reading blueprints and engineering drawings, (d) software skills and usage designed to solve real sustainability problems. During the project period, deliverables will include: (1) the creation of state curriculum frameworks, (2) the modification of three existing courses (from related programs), and (3) the development of nine new courses. Career pathways will also be developed for students entering from the local school districts in order to provide seamless articulation opportunities through strong programming and partnership activities. Advising of students will focus on activities to promote enrollment and retention of females and veterans, both underrepresented populations in the technical programs at the college. Strong industry partnerships and associations will serve on the Industry Advisory Council that will be significantly involved in all steps along the program development pathway as well as serving as internship and workplace sites for graduates.