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TechTown center of $2.4B battery investment from feds that could create 6,800 jobs in next 18 months

Michigan is the big winner in $2.4 billion of federal grants for research and development of advanced automotive batteries. And TechTown was at the center of it all.

Vice President Joe Biden made the announcement last week at the business incubator in New Center. Michigan will receive about half of that money, which will be used for everything from lithium ion batteries to hybrid cars.

Wayne State University is also getting a small slice of the pie, taking in $5 million for training and education for researchers, technicians and service providers. Think of it as one of the first steps for creating the path for the next generation of engineers and technicians who will work on advanced battery and hybrid/electric car technology.

"The auto manufacturers are training their electric-drive vehicle engineers and technicians mainly in-house," Simon Ng, a professor in the department of chemical and materials science engineering at Wayne State said in a press release. "These components and systems are very much in a state of rapid scientific and technological development that will demand highly trained engineers and technologies with the highest level of technology education."

Ng leads Wayne Stateís Alternative Energy Technology degree program and is helping NextEnergy (a TechTown anchor firm) and Macomb Community College to create a comprehensive set of advanced educational degree programs in electric-drive vehicles.

These degrees would include a masterís in Electric-Drive Vehicle Engineering, a bachelorís in Electric Transportation Technology and an associateís in Automotive Technology and Electronic Engineering Technology. Ng estimates that there are about 1,000 prospective graduate students and 2,000 prospective undergraduates eligible for these sorts of degrees.

Source: Wayne State University and TechTown
Writer: Jon Zemke
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