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Colleges Focus On Green Jobs

By CityTownInfo.com Staff

February 24, 2009

Institutions of higher learning are implementing new programs that will prepare students for jobs in the green sector.

The Daily Journal of Commerce reports that Oregon community colleges are working to train students in green jobs, including wind power installers and maintenance workers, solar engineers and designers, green architects and designers, biodiesel laboratory technicians, indoor air quality auditors and sales representatives for energy products.

While some school officials expressed concern about expected federal and state cutbacks as well as less support from the private sector, others were confident that the economic downturn will not slow the demand for green technology.

"Sources of unconventional energy like sun and wind are totally free and infinite-thus the need of people in the manufacturing field," noted Dorina Corneam, an instructor at the Solar Voltaic Manufacturing Technology program at Portland Community College in Rock Creek. "Nothing can beat that. In addition, there is a lot of room for improvement in the design sector, thus a second field in need of people."

San Francisco's The Guardsman notes that City College of San Francisco recently unanimously passed a directive to create green training programs and establish a green jobs industry advisory group.

"This stimulus package from the government is going to make the renewable energy industry grow exponentially like we've never seen before," John Rizzo, a trustee, told The Guardsman. "It's going to be historic growth of this industry."

The new programs will provide training for employment opportunities in solar, wind, energy efficiency and geothermal fields. In addition, the courses will prepare students for jobs in biodiversity and environmental sciences, and positions specialized for green industry, including project management and sales. The college already offers a new solar technology workshop and will be introducing a hybrid car technology class this fall.

In a related story, the Clarion Ledger in Mississippi reports that many colleges in the state are emphasizing "going green." Jackson State University recently built a 90,000 square foot engineering building using recycled building materials and environmentally friendly paint. The move, say school officials, not only helps save money but also may help attract students.

A recent survey from the Higher Education Research Institute indicated that many of this year's college freshmen saw environmentalism as a priority, with some even considering environmental efforts when deciding which college to attend.

The University of Mississippi is involved in several green projects, including launching a campus recycling plan. Meanwhile, the University of Southern Mississippi told the Ledger that the school plans to become a leader in campus green initiatives.

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