Community Colleges 'Pivotal' in Preparing a Green Workforce
By Michelle Galley, Senior Writer, Academy for Educational Development
Thousands of workers will be needed to fill the “green” jobs that are being created as environmentally friendly technologies‚ public policies‚ and public-private investments move the United States toward a low-carbon future. According to a new report from AED and the National Council on Workforce Education‚ community colleges are in a pivotal position to prepare this green workforce.
“Going Green: The Vital Role of Community Colleges in Building a Sustainable Future and a Green Workforce” details the ways in which more than two dozen community colleges prepare workers for new, reoriented, or emerging jobs in the clean-energy economy. From New York to California, community colleges are implementing climate solutions by creating living classrooms, modeling ways to eliminate harmful emissions, and integrating sustainability principles into their curricula, the report says.
“Community colleges are responding quickly to the employment demands of the industry‚ and in doing so‚ they are supporting the country’s economic recovery‚” said Mindy Feldbaum‚ director of workforce development programs at the AED National Institute for Work and Learning.
As the U.S. moves closer to a green economy, community colleges are becoming even more important because they are able to quickly adapt their curricula to meet changing market conditions, Feldbaum said.
The green jobs for which community colleges are preparing workers include wind power installers; solar engineers; green architects and designers; ethanol plant technicians; and biodiesel laboratory technicians.
The report outlines six action steps that community colleges can take to play a leading role in creating a sustainable future and green workforce. For example, institutions can reduce their own carbon footprint, make sustainability a defining feature of campus culture, and educate their surrounding community about environmental stewardship.
Examples of employment opportunities in the fastest-growing areas for green jobs—energy-efficient construction, solar energy, wind power, geothermal resources, and biofuels—are also included in the report.
Download “Going Green: The Vital Role of Community Colleges in Building a Sustainable Future and a Green Workforce,” at http://aed.org/Publications/upload/GoingGreen.pdf.
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