August 8, 2017

UConn, URI create coalition for Navy training

The University of Connecticut and the University of Rhode Island are teaming up with the U.S. Navy to provide training for engineering undergraduates considering careers in the Navy and undersea engineering.

The universities won a $1.3 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to create a community of students, faculty, government and industry leaders that will strive to expand the Navy science and technology workforce.

The three-year grant will be divided to establish joint programs, making it possible to educate and train workers who will be a pipeline to the naval community, which is vital to the economic livelihood of the region.

Southern New England – in particular, Rhode Island and Connecticut – is a critical region for the Navy, and hosts the Naval Submarine Base in New London.

The region is also home to the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, in Newport, as well as Raytheon, in Portsmouth, and Electric Boat, in Groton, Conn., where a dramatic increase in hiring is expected. The grant links those institutions, plus the two universities, to create the Southeast New England STEM Coalition.

As part of the coalition, URI and UConn will launch a new concentration in naval science and technology in which students will take seminar-style classes featuring guest speakers from local Navy contractors and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. Students will also conduct Navy-based undergraduate research and design projects; projects involving new Navy technologies and mentors from the Navy will be encouraged.

Michael Accorsi, senior associate dean of UConn's School of Engineering, is executive director, of the initiative.

"Through this grant, UConn and URI are able to pursue an integrated suite of programs that leverage existing resources and complement Navy programs to create a powerful workforce," Accorsi said. "We will be able to meet the critical need to build the next generation of Naval workforce."

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