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Wayne State to Collaborate on $75M Department of Energy Award

The U.S. Department of Energy and the State of Michigan have announced a collective award of cash incentives and grants totaling $75 million to build workforce development for Nel Hydrogen’s new factory to be built in Plymouth, Michigan.

Dr. Leela Mohana Reddy AravaDr. Leela Mohana Reddy Arava"The support from the Department of Energy and the state of Michigan is crucial for realizing our factory, which will create new green industrial jobs and be a significant contribution to the energy transition," said Nel Hydrogen President and CEO Håkon Volldal.

Nel Hyrdogen’s electrolyser production facility, expected to create more than 500 high-tech jobs, will make a significant contribution to energy transition that stimulates a clean energy economy.

As part of this development, Wayne State University’s College of Engineering will provide hands-on experiences to high schoolers and establish workforce training in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

“Our goal is to ensure that students have access to an advanced manufacturing education that can lead to careers in emerging technologies dealing with hydrogen and fuel cells technologies in facilities such the new Nel Hydrogen factory,” said Dr. Leela Mohana Reddy Arava, associate dean for research and graduate studies and professor of mechanical engineering at Wayne State

Arava, who will head up the three-year, $853,000 project, explained the plan is to engage and recruit underrepresented minority students from area high schools through graduate-level programs to participate in educational and workforce development activities. He said the plan will lead to a six-week summer internship program for high school students and leverage the “Mobile Energy Lab” program he founded in 2015 at Wayne State to engage Detroit middle schoolers.

“By providing young minds with a support structure to build their skills and develop their ambition, programs such as this one led by Dr. Arava have the potential to impact their future careers and, ultimately, their lives,” said Dr. Ezemenari Obasi, vice president for research at Wayne State. “I look forward to seeing the successes of this important program.”

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