ISU has approved a new degree in renewable energy that would train students for jobs in fast-growing fields ranging from ethanol to wind power.
If approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, ISU would join just a handful of US universities that have created renewable energy degrees.
Officials say workers are already scarce and most have to learn on the job because the industry is still emerging.
And they say the scramble for workers will grow if Congress adopts proposals to boost renewable energy standards for fuel and electricity.
ISU hopes to launch its program in the fall of 2008 and says businesses already have inquired about students who will be part of the first graduating class in 2012.
The new degree program would be funded through a nearly $1-million grant from the US Department of Energy.