Posts tagged ‘Green Jobs’

Community College Training for Managing Green Jobs

Community College Training for Managing Green Jobs


BEYOND “green-collar” jobs, like retrofitting a home to conserve energy or helping build a wind farm, an energy-conscious economy will need a new generation of environmentally smart managers, and that’s where community colleges are stepping up with new courses and degree programs.

The federal government is pouring $500 million into training for green jobs, and the sector devoted to energy efficiency is estimated to grow as much as fourfold in the next decade, to some 1.3 million people, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Its March 2010 report was financed by the Energy Department.

Green-collar jobs have grabbed the public’s attention, and educational institutions are starting programs to train the managers who will oversee the technologies, manufacturing processes and materials that will be used to conserve energy and help safeguard natural resources.

Some community colleges already are offering two-year degrees in environmental management and certificates for managers who want to add green qualifications — which means learning more about the environmental aspects of a particular field — to their résumés. These colleges are offering some courses and training on campus as well as online.

Lane Community College, in Eugene, Ore., for example, is offering two-year programs — for associate degrees in applied sciences — in energy management, renewable energy or water conservation.

The college, which has an organic garden and changed its faucets and toilets to conserve water, was an early proponent of environmental education, and its degree programs are serving as models for 10 other community colleges, according to Roger Ebbage, director of energy programs at the college’s Northwest Energy Education Institute.

“When we first started two decades ago we were focused on community and residential energy efficiency,” Mr. Ebbage said. “Now we are preparing people to go into the commercial sector anywhere in the country.”

The graduates are in great demand, said Mr. Ebbage.

“They are working for utilities, on engineering jobs, for school districts, cities and the military,” he said. “We’re not going to be in areas where there is no job demand,” he added, noting that some short-term green job training programs have been criticized because they do not always lead to employment in the current economy.

The demand for its managerial graduates prompted Lane Community College to accelerate its two-year program, with help from federal money, starting this month. The college is beginning a trial program that allows students to earn their energy management degrees in fewer academic terms. Their tuition is subsidized as part of the federal stimulus funds for green courses and training, including a $2,500 tuition tax credit.

Matthew Heflin, 49, decided to get his energy management degree after spending 18 years working at a Hewlett-Packard lab that researched new products. Mr. Heflin, a military veteran who does not have a college degree, wanted to be prepared for the green economy.

“I was first interested in wind or solar, but then I heard about the energy management program,” said Mr. Heflin, whose previous job had been eliminated. “Now I’m taking math, physics and three energy management classes, including sustainability.”

Mr. Heflin is among the program’s 25 students, most 25 to 55 years old and many displaced from industries like computers and aerospace. Math and sciences are part of the program, so applicants have to have at least an algebra background.

The students can also take the college’s other continuing education courses, including sustainable landscaping, and cross-disciplinary courses like natural resource economics, environmental politics and global ecology.

Last year, the college won a $890,000 grant from the federal government — not stimulus money — for its accelerated program. An additional grant is being used to help 10 other community colleges across the country begin or enhance their programs in energy management over a three-year period, said Mr. Ebbage.

Those colleges include American River College in Sacramento; Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay; Delaware Technical and Community College; and West Virginia University, in Parkersburg.

Delaware Technical and Community College, which has campuses in Dover, Georgetown and Wilmington, will be offering an applied energy program to train energy managers and “green power” technicians starting in September, said Stephanie Smith, the college’s academic vice president.

“Lane is the national leader in this program, and we are modeling our program on them,” she said. The college plans to offer a two-year associate’s degree in applied science, first in energy management and then, starting in the 2011 academic year, in solar energy management.

The program, which opened student enrollment this month, will have 30 students, both entering freshmen and older people trying to retool their skills, said Ms. Smith.

Such training is also being offered in rural areas, with online environmental degrees and certificates, according to a survey of 321 community colleges by researchers at the University of Louisville’s National Research Center for Career and Technical Education.

Rod P. Githens, one of the authors and assistant professor of work force education at the University of Louisville, said many of the green learning programs were for workers in transition and required education beyond a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.

A few, like the College of Southern Maryland, in La Plata, offer management programs, including one in environmental planning, and a separate program in environmental management. These programs provide a letter of recognition, and not a degree.

For those seeking a four-year degree, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study found that about two dozen four-year colleges and universities across the country offer degree programs with courses that are directly relevant to the energy efficiency sector.

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September 14, 2010 at 1:15 PM Leave a comment

Green Collar Economy in the Bay Area

What a green-collar economy means to workers

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ian Kim directs the Green Collar Jobs Campaign for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland. It’s a job title that didn’t even exist a decade ago, but now the issue, long championed by the center, is front and center in the national economy – and Oakland, too. Last week, the city announced that it, the Ella Baker center and other cities and groups had won $40 million in federal stimulus grants for energy efficiency – and to help train under-skilled workers in that industry. Kim, a 34-year-old Yale MBA who lives in San Francisco, talked to reporter Matthai Kuruvila about what this so-called “green-collar economy” means for the current recession.

Q: Why is fighting poverty and fighting climate change so intertwined for you?

A: Green technology is and will be the next industrial revolution in the California economy and globally… We need to put solar panels up everywhere. We need to build wind farms. That’s work that you can’t export. And there are at least three ways poor people are disproportionately affected by climate change: environmental health, job opportunities and cost of living.

Q: What about Oakland in particular makes it such an ideal ecosystem for the green-collar economy to flourish?

A: Oakland has a lot of different realities. It’s consistently one of the top 10 green cities in the country (according to the Natural Resources Defense Council). At the same time, there are big problems with our education system, big problems with violence and poverty. Oakland was a thriving blue collar town a couple generations ago. We have the potential to be a green-collar powerhouse as well. The combination of environmental leadership and the problems of poverty and education that exist in a place like Oakland means that there’s a dynamic tension that has a lot of potential.

Q: Why do you love Oakland?

A: Oakland has a kind of groundedness and a kind of soul that you don’t often see in San Francisco. Oakland is the second most diverse place ethnically in the country (according to the Census). We have a vibrant Chinatown. We have a really vibrant hip-hop culture where young talent is coming up all the time. There’s such a strong activist culture here, too. Despite all the challenges, there’s a spirit to do better, to become better, a stubbornness that I have a lot of respect for. Oakland’s a real town.

This article appeared on page C – 5 of the San Francisco Chronicle

February 23, 2010 at 1:44 PM Leave a comment

Many Shades of Green: Diversity and Distribution of California’s Green Jobs

Click to download report

This report from Next 10 tracks the growth of green jobs in the Golden State over the last 14 years, and finds big growth and regional hotspots for different types of environmentally oriented careers.

With an annual increase of 2.4 percent per year, jobs in a wide number of green areas have far outpaced employment rates in other industries. The research found some regions of the state fared better than others, and each region developed a niche market for different green jobs. The Sacramento area was the clear leader in job growth, with an 87 percent improvement since 1995; San Diego found a 57 percent growth in green jobs in that timeframe, and the San Francisco Bay Area and the Orange County / Inland Empire region grew by 51 and 50 percent, respectively.

Sacramento was a hotspot for jobs in biomass energy generation, while the Bay Area led in energy research and consulting jobs; the San Diego region ranked highly in a number of areas, but was the overall leader in jobs in co-generation technologies.

Among the highlights of California’s Core Green Economy:

• Between 1995-2008, green businesses increased 45 percent, green jobs grew 36 percent while total jobs in the state grew only 13 percent.
• Even in rural areas with a smaller economic base, green jobs are growing faster than the overall economy.
• Between 2007-2008, green jobs grew 5 percent while total jobs dropped one percent.
• Manufacturing represents 21 percent of all green jobs, and grew 19 percent, while manufacturing represents only 11 percent of all jobs in California (January 2008.)
• Half of all manufacturing jobs are split between Energy Efficiency and Energy Generation.
• Services accounted for 45 percent of all California green jobs, the largest portion in Environmental Consulting.
• With nearly 43,000 jobs in 2008, Air & Environment is the largest of California’s green segments. While this segment’s jobs remained steady, hovering around 35,000 from 1995-2005, since 2005 the number of green jobs in this segment has increased 24 percent.
• From 1995-2008, Energy Generation employment expanded 61 percent by nearly 10,000 jobs. Solar makes up the largest portion, and strongest growth (63 percent).
• Employment in Energy Efficiency increased 63 percent from 1995-2008.
• Employment in Green Transportation has increased 152 percent since 1995. Green Transportation Jobs are primarily in Motor Vehicles & Equipment and Alternative Fuels, with the latter growing faster at 201 percent, and representing 48 percent of all jobs in this segment.
• Green Logistics is an emerging field, only in the Bay Area at present, with employment growing by 1144 percent since 1995.

More details about the report are available at

January 20, 2010 at 11:08 AM Leave a comment

Green jobs grants for California

The U.S. Department of Labor doled out nearly $5.5 million in grants for green-jobs training today, with more than a dozen awards scattered throughout California.

The funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will support job-training and labor-market information programs to help workers find jobs in green industries and related occupations, said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

The Recovery Act has $500 million planned for green-jobs training grants.

Today’s grants, to be administered by the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, were given out in two categories — $48.8 million for state labor-market information improvement and $5.8 million in green capacity building.

The information-improvement grants will go toward collecting and distributing information and squeezing out more space within the infrastructure for clean-energy careers while connecting job seekers with green job banks and post-training employment.

Thirty grants, ranging from $763,000 to $4 million, were given to state workforce agencies. The California Employment Development Department was awarded $1.25 million.

The green-capacity building grants will boost the ability of 62 current Labor Department grant recipients to train targeted communities, including American Indians, women, at-risk youth and farm workers.

Seven California groups, including Los Angeles-based Women in Non-Traditional Employment Roles and Coalition for Responsible Community Development, received $100,000 grants. Five others were given from $70,000 to $98,122.

November 19, 2009 at 10:58 AM Leave a comment

University of San Francisco: unplugged

USFUNPLUGGED is brought to you by the Environmental Safety Community Outreach Liaison’s of USF. Here to educate, assist and encourage, we want you to get involved with the GREEN movement taking place on campus!

Unplugged Rewind