Community Colleges Offer Degrees In Environmental Education To Help Prepare Students For Green Jobs

August 26, 2010

Close up of man wearing hard hat with wind turbines in backgroundCentral Carolina Community College (CCCC) in North Carolina has added a new green degree program to complement its existing sustainability education, Applied Science in Sustainability Technologies, it reports. The curriculum focuses on environmental protection and sustainability with an emphasis on either alternative energy or green building. CCCC provides these environment-oriented degrees to support economic development by creating a local workforce armed with the necessary knowledge and skills for green positions like sustainability consultant and green building supervisor.

"Within the next ten years, we are moving into an economy that will be driven by energy efficiency--a green economy. Hopefully, this will produce the pool of workers we need," says Matthew Meyer, associate vice president for innovation and biotechnology for the North Carolina Community College System.

Like CCCC, increasing numbers of community colleges across the country are offering campus-based and online classes as well as degree programs that prepare students--both incoming freshmen and displaced workers--for green jobs.

Green jobs, from entry level to management, exist in every industry and demand is growing, stated The New York Times. The number of workers in the energy efficiency sector alone is expected to quadruple by 2018 to an estimated 1.3 million. In anticipation, the federal government is spending $500 million on green jobs training.

Delaware Technical and Community College, for example, with campuses in Dover, Georgetown and Wilmington, plans to implement a two-year, applied science associate's degree program designed to train energy managers and alternative energy technicians. This September, it will begin offering its energy management degree and in 2011, its solar energy management degree.

Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon is modifying its existing two-year associate's degree in applied sciences to allow students to earn their credits faster, The New York Times reports. "When we first started two decades ago we were focused on community and residential energy efficiency," says Roger Ebbage, director of energy programs at the college's Northwest Energy Education Institute. "Now we are preparing people to go into the commercial sector anywhere in the country." The school's graduates work for engineering firms, school districts, cities and the military.

Per ASU News, Arizona State University has added a bachelor's of arts degree in earth and environmental studies, which covers green topics in the framework of how Earth works. It is ideal for students who are interested in the environment and related issues but do not want a science degree. "We know there is a demand for this," says Kelin Whipple, professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "Students see that many companies and the government are focused on it, and they want to get in on the ground floor," Whipple adds.

Compiled by CityTownInfo.com Staff


"CCCC-Chatham Launches New Green Degree," cccc.edu, August 9, 2010

"Community College Training for Managing Green Jobs," NYTimes.com, August 25, 2010, Elizabeth Olson

"New Environmental Studies Degree Marries Liberal Arts With Science," asunews.asu.edu, August 25, 2010

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