Campus news items: Grant expands CWI program with ties to semiconductor industry

An instructor teaches an Advanced Mechatronics Engineering Technology class at the College of Western Idaho’s Micron Education Center in Nampa. (Photo courtesy CWI.)

A state grant will help the College of Western Idaho expand an academic program aligned with the Treasure Valley’s semiconductor industry.

The $4.2 million from the state Workforce Development Council will go to CWI’s Advanced Mechatronics Engineering Program.

Mechatronics allows students to get hands-on training in mechanical, electrical, computer and software programs, and students in the program can apply for apprenticeships at Micron Technology Inc.’s Boise headquarters.

“This funding will help us deliver quality education and training to even more students, as well as provide the workforce for an industry that is vital to the Treasure Valley and Idaho,” CWI President Gordon Jones said in a news release.

Nuclear research team received federal ‘tech hub’ grant

An Idaho-based nuclear energy research hub has received a $500,000 federal gra­nt — and more funding could be on the way.

The federal Department of Commerce funding goes to the Idaho Falls-based Intermountain-West Nuclear Energy Tech Hub, headed by an Idaho consortium that includes the University of Idaho. The consortium is researching small modular reactor technology; supporters say SMRs hold the promise of producing power safely and securely, at a low cost.

The feds’ $500,000 “tech hub” designation means the Idaho consortium could qualify for up to $75 million in additional federal funding.

U of I officials say the hub builds on the university’s Idaho Falls-based nuclear engineering program, launched in 1954.

“Idaho is a proving ground for first-of-its-kind technologies in advanced nuclear energy,” Chris Nomura, U of I’s vice president for research and economic development, said in a university news release. “Leveraging U of I’s competitive advantage in research and workforce education, we have the capability to build a regional model to attract advanced technology suppliers to expand and grow incubation opportunities. This will result in great jobs that start and remain in Idaho.”

BYU-Idaho reports mixed enrollment numbers

Brigham Young University-Idaho’s enrollment is essentially flat this fall — and the numbers are a mixed bag.

In all, 23,318 students are on the Rexburg campus this fall, for face-to-face or online classes or internships. That’s a 3.4% decrease from the previous fall.

Meanwhile, enrollment in the online BYU Pathway Worldwide increased again, for at least the fifth successive fall. BYU-Idaho enrollment in the program reached 19,678, a 4.2% increase.

Combining the two programs, BYU-Idaho’s enrollment totals 42,996, down 28 students from the previous fall.

The private university also released a few enrollment demographics:

  • Female students made up a slight majority of the campus-based population: 11,989 students, compared with 11,329 male students.
  • The 5,007 married students make up 22% of the overall campus population.
Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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