Braley created 'New Era` program which provides funding for grant.

Washington, DC - Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced that the Eastern Iowa Community College District (EICCD) and Hawkeye Community College have been awarded $276,318 in grant money from the Department of Agriculture for curriculum in ag-based renewable energy programs. The grant is made available through the New Era Rural Technology Program established by Braley.

"Community colleges in Eastern Iowa will now be able to enhance their courses and training for students entering the renewable energy field," Braley said. "This grant will not only promote higher education in the field of bio-energy, but give students the resources to be highly-qualified in the competitive job market."

Specifically, the money will go toward the EICCD Agriculture-based Renewable Energy Center (AREC), in partnership with Hawkeye Community College. Its vision is to advance curriculum, programs and resources to increase the number of rural students who pursue and complete a two-year postsecondary degree in ag-based renewable energy.

"I want to thank Congressman Braley for his role in securing the funding for this great opportunity at the college," Eastern Iowa Community College District Chancellor Dr. Pat Keir said. "Through the years, EICCD has become a leader in the area of new and renewable energies. This grant provides us with the ability to tie that into the heart of Iowa and the Midwest, agriculture. Thanks to this funding we will be educating students, other educators and current workers throughout the country in ag-based renewable energy opportunities."

The New Era Rural Technology Program was originally proposed by Braley when he introduced H.R. 872, the National Endowment for Workforce Education in Renewables and Agriculture (NEW ERA) Act, in 2007.  Braley passed these provisions into law in 2008, creating the grant program.

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