Green Job Training To Retool In Five States

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
July 15, 2009

Five states-Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, and Oregon-will be getting a federal jumpstart for green job training. Recently, officials from the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE) and the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), at the U.S. Department of Education, launched a program of technical assistance to these states for programs of study geared to the emerging environmental sector.

Each state will focus on a different portfolio of green industries. Georgia will tackle energy, construction, and transportation. In Illinois, training will focus on energy, utilities, and waste management. New Jersey will address a grab bag of industries yet to be named. Ohio will develop programs on alternative energy, biotech, and farming. For its part, Oregon's program will deal with wind power, solar energy, and green building.

The plan is one piece in a mosaic of new federal programs aimed at creating green jobs. The Obama administration sees these industries as one key in lifting the country out of the deepest economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The Louisville, KY-based NRCCTE will work with the selected states over 14 months on "green-focused" programs of study. NRCCTE director James R. Stone III called for curricula to ease the passage between secondary schools and higher education. "Programs of study should build on sound career development theory and may utilize dual or concurrent enrollment options or other strategies that will more effectively link high school and postsecondary education," Stone said in a statement.

The launch can't come too soon for Oregon, reports the Statesman Journal. The northwestern state has felt the brunt of a plunging jobless rate that in May made it the second worst in the nation, after Michigan.

With overall construction in the dumps, Oregon hemorrhaged 17 percent of its building jobs in 2008, reports the Statesman Journal, citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Green renovation could generate jobs for building inspectors, insulators, and roofers.

Already, Lane Community College in Eugene, OR is at work teaching students about energy efficiency. "Lane has been doing this long before it was hip to be green," college president Mary Spilde told the Statesman Journal. "A lot of the green jobs now are in energy efficiency, and that's where a lot of our programs are focused."

At the close of the technical assistance program, the five states will pool the lessons of their experience for the benefit of other regions. "These green initiatives will be a tremendous learning opportunity for the entire country, and they'll be job creators down the road," said Oregon's deputy assistant secretary of education, in an interview with the Statesman Journal.

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