Mercer County Technical School honored the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, a U.S. Department of Energy research facility affiliated with Princeton University, as its Business Partner of the Year.
The award is given annually to a county vocational technical school business partner for outstanding contributions to career and technical education. Business partners play a variety of roles, including serving on county vocational technical school program advisory boards, offering opportunities for students to gain valuable work experience, donating equipment, or serving as mentors and role models for students.
PPPL initially reached out to Mercer County Technical Schools in the fall of 2018 with the objective of finding the next wave of highly skilled technicians, electricians and lab personnel to work in/on the highly technical equipment used in the research of fusion energy.
PPPL is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy.
In less than one year, the district solidified a NJ Department of Labor Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education (PACE) grant with PPPL that provided the framework to allow an apprentice technician to be mentored by 30-year veterans in the lab.
PPPL currently employs four MCTS graduates who are working as electricians, laboratory technicians, and engineers.
“Mercer County Technical Schools is extremely appreciative of the dynamic partnership that has been initiated with Princeton Plasma Physics,” said Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Schneider. “We plan on having our STEM, Electrical, and HVAC students involved with PPPL to discover the reality of fusion energy as it will relate as a viable energy source for the entire world.”