NAMPA, Idaho, Oct. 9, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Micron Foundation has awarded Northwest Nazarene University a $200,000 grant to assist the University's new bachelor of science in engineering program. The grant will provide start-up funding to hire two new faculty members and a laboratory manager, enabling the University to create several new engineering courses over the next two years. This will directly support the engineering program's pursuit of accreditation upon its first graduating class in 2014. "The Micron Foundation grant to our engineering program is greatly appreciated. It provides leadership in our on-going fundraising efforts to put in place the faculty, lab equipment, and facilities required to build a high-quality engineering program and achieve ABET accreditation in the shortest possible time," said NNU Engineering Program Director, Dr. Stephen Parke. Dee Mooney, executive director, Micron Foundation stated, "The Micron Foundation supports NNU's efforts to strengthen its engineering program which supports the State of Idaho's goal of boosting education in science, technology, engineering and math." The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) is the organization that 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 under qualified workforce, the need for qualified young professionals is pressing. The number of graduates produced by Idaho's university engineering programs is not adequate to meet the needs of existing Idaho companies or to encourage growth of new industries. NNU is actively engaged in attracting high caliber faculty, staff, and students to this program, which began fall 2010 with 12 students and currently serves 62 students. A total of six faculty in electrical, mechanical and engineering physics must be in place by the accreditation review in 2014. Micron's generous grant will help make this possible.