The Micron Foundation has awarded Northwest Nazarene University a $200,000 grant for the universitys new bachelor of science in engineering program.
The grant will provide start-up funds to hire two faculty members and a laboratory manager, enabling the university to create several new engineering courses over the next two years.
NNU said the grant will also help the engineering programs pursuit of accreditation upon its first graduating class in 2014.
The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Inc. accredits engineering programs nationwide to ensure graduates are obtaining a high-quality, professional education. ABET accreditation is essential for graduates to pursue professional engineering licensure and graduate education.
Because high-tech jobs are growing nearly four times faster than the national average, and industries are struggling with a technically underqualified workforce, the need for qualified young professionals is pressing. The number of graduates produced by Idahos university engineering programs is not adequate to meet the needs of existing Idaho companies or to encourage growth of new industries.
NNU said it is working to attract high-caliber faculty, staff, and students to this program, which began fall 2010 with 12 students and now serves 62. Six faculty in electrical, mechanical and engineering physics must be in place by the accreditation review in 2014.
"We look forward to leveraging these funds to attract stellar faculty to this growing program and in so doing, serving the engineering needs of the Treasure Valley and beyond, said NNU President David Alexander.