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Demand Up For Green Training

Compiled By CityTownInfo.com Staff
December 30, 2009

Colleges are increasingly offering more green courses and majors to train students as well as unemployed workers.

USA Today reports that according to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, more than 100 majors, minors or certificates were created this year in energy and sustainability-focused programs--up from just three programs that were added in 2005.

"There's a great perception that there's a sweet spot with energy to do good and well," explained Rob Melnick, executive dean of the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, who was quoted in USA Today, "and it appears to be the place of job growth."

USA Today notes that other schools have also seen great demand for green training, including Illinois State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley.

It's no wonder: Green technology, including solar and wind energy and green construction, is considered to be a burgeoning field, reports The Wall Street Journal [from an article originally located at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748703278604574624392641425278.html]. "Global sustainability will become more important to employers," explained Greg Netland, who handles recruiting for Sapphire Technologies, a Massachusetts-based IT staffing firm. He told the Journal that ultimately, proficiency in green technology "cuts costs, making experts in the field highly attractive to employers."

Community colleges in San Diego have responded to the demand by offering green training for unemployed workers using federal stimulus funds, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. Some schools offering or about to offer such programs include Cuyamaca College, San Diego City College, MiraCosta College and Palomar College.

"The green building industry is going to be very big," said Wilma Owens, dean of career, technical and extended education at Palomar College, who was interviewed by the Union-Tribune. She noted that over 120 students are currently being trained for green jobs at the school.

"The major objective is to give people training so they can get right back into the workplace," she told the Union-Tribune. "We're not interested in people sitting in a classroom for two years."

Gayle Healy, director of the Center for Careers and Employment at New York's Hudson Valley Community College, also elaborated on the growth of green training in the past five years. She noted in an interview with CityTownInfo.com that HVCC currently offers certificate programs in areas such as Photovoltaics and home energy efficiency.

"The expansion into areas like our state-of-the-art green programs, including alternative fuels, geothermal and wind energy systems, is amazing," she said. "President Obama, who praised us for our green technology programs, recently visited our college. It is exciting to be part of the greening process, educating and employing people in these fields, and to receive such a great recommendation from our nation's president."

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