PSE&G (Newark, New Jersey, U.S.) and Thomas Edison State College (Trenton, New Jersey) have partnered to develop the nation's first bachelor's degree program in energy utility technology, a program designed to help the utility industry meet expected labor shortages. The distance-learning program, which opened up to students on July 1, 2006, consists of online courses. As of Aug. 22, 12 students were enrolled, and the school expects that number to grow as indicated by the number of inquiries it has received about the program. New students may enroll monthly.

The Internet is used to facilitate interactive learning where students participate with other students in class discussions. The 120-credit-hour curriculum focuses on the technical core competencies integral to the utility industry and the principals of business and management.

In developing the bachelor's degree program, Thomas Edison State College teamed up with experts from academia and the industry. Field supervisors, engineers and managers from PSE&G helped identify job duties, skills, educational objectives and learning outcomes that would be important. The program builds on associate degree programs in energy utility technology that PSE&G has helped develop and implement at three county colleges. This is part of a business initiative PSE&G launched in 2002 to create a pool of technically skilled and educated workers to fill entry-level positions in its electric and gas departments.