Posts Tagged ‘alternative energy’

Stay Tuned: The 101 Series

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

As you’re mapping your future career, there are lots of things to consider. What type of setting do you like to be in? What are your strongest skills? What are the options in today’s job market and what are the educational requirements needed for these jobs?

Next season, ATETV will provide a series of new programs designed to help students and prospective employees answer these questions. The two-part “101 Series” will introduce viewers to five different job sectors – including Environmental Technologies, Lab Work and Manufacturing – and provide an in-depth look at the fields’ educational and course requirements as well as a glimpse of the workplaces, careers and opportunities in these technical arenas.

Think you might be interested in a career in alternative energies for example? The “Intro to the Environment 101” episode will go behind the scenes of a classroom where students are studying environmental technologies – water, wind and solar energy. You’ll watch students conducting experiments using sunlight to generate clean energy. You’ll also visit a college lab where students are learning how water travels through the ground.

Then, in the second part of the Environment 101 episode, ATETV moves from classroom to workplace to see how classroom skills are translated into real-life careers. You’ll visit Environmental Technology employers – the companies that produce water, wind and solar energy — and hear from working technicians how they got their jobs and what their everyday work lives are like.

Charting a career path is exciting and challenging – ATETV’s 101 Series can help provide concrete information and advice to put you on the path to success. Stay tuned.

How Do You Grow A Green Workforce?

Friday, March 25th, 2011

How Do You Grow A Green Workforce?

Last year, the New York Times reported that “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.”

Furthermore, according to the Times, community colleges have been leading the way in developing these green training programs. As Roger Ebbage, director of energy programs at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon noted in the article, graduates of the energy programs are now working in a wide variety of sectors throughout the country, including utility companies, engineering jobs, in school districts, cities and the military.

Today there are a multitude of both degree and certificate training options available in a wide variety of green specialties – from wind technology and solar cell design to energy audits and weatherization. Here are just a few examples of the ways that community colleges are preparing for the growth in green jobs:

*Besides being environmentally friendly, renewable energy sources are necessary to offset rising fuel costs. At Red Rocks Community College in Arvada, Colorado, the Renewable Energy Technology program offers degrees and certificates in a number of specialties, including Solar Photovoltaic; Solar Thermal; Wind Energy Technology; and Energy Efficiency (Energy Audit) certification.

*Michigan’s Lansing Community College was among the nation’s first schools to incorporate alternative energy into its curricula, offering an Associate’s Degree in Alternative Energy Engineering Technologies. Students enrolled in this program study wind, solar, geothermal, energy efficiency, and bio-mass/gas energy production systems to develop an understanding of the challenges and opportunities in developing a renewable energy economy.

*Meanwhile, the New England Institute of Technology in Warwick, Rhode Island, has “greened” its existing curriculum, , expanding its Heating Technology curriculum to include Solar Technology; adding Gray Water Technology and Rain Water Harvesting to the course offerings in its Plumbing Technology Program; and rolling out classes in Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Hybrid Vehicles in its Automotive Technology program.

*The College of DuPage in Ellyn, Illinois, has not only added a Renewable Energy Certificate to its Electronics Technology (including the installation of of two windmills and four solar panels on the roof of the school’s Technical Education Center), but has made an existing green program even greener by stressing eco-friendly trends in its Sustainable Landscapes Certificate program.

*The Green Technician Certification Program at Houston Community College is specifically geared to two new and emerging occupations – Weatherization Technicians and Energy Auditors, while the Sustainable Energy Technician degree program at Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Oregon emphasizes the growing fields of energy conservation and renwable energy production.

*And, even health care can be green. The Green Healthcare Training Program at Rose State College in Midwest City, Oklahoma offers Certificate classes for health-care technicians in identifying environmental waste and understanding its impact, reducing the medical waste stream, reducing energy and water usage, as well as identifying and using available resources.

ATETV Episode 45: Safeguarding the Future

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

This week, we look at the many ways that emerging technologies are protecting our futures — from supplying safe, clean drinking water and new energy sources to guarding our computer information.

In our first segment, Linda Correira of Aquaria Water, LLC, describes how Water Treatment Technology systems successfully treat salt water and turn it into clean, thirst-quenching drinking water.

“Everyone needs water and we have limited supplies [on earth]” explains Linda. “But if you have the ability to take salt water — which we have much more of — and convert it into drinking water, then there’s [an important resource.]” As Linda further explains, the desalination process puts salt water through a treatment process to remove any bacteria and then salty, high-conductivity water goes through a “reverse osmosis” system to remove dissolved salts. From there, water is disinfected and — voila! — the glass is half full of drinkable water.

In our second segment, we talk with a student at Springfield Technical Community College whose work in the school’s Information Security Program will have an impact on lots and lots of people.

“[Almost all of your personal information] is stored on a computer system somewhere,” explains Sean Coughlin. “People might think, ‘Oh, I don’t use online banking, I don’t put my credit card information into websites, so [computer security issues] don’t affect me.’” But, in fact, says Sean, everyone is affected because businesses put their information on computer systems — and your information is their information.

The growing need for Cyber Security professionals, and a lifelong love of computers, has brought Sean from an 18-year career as a commercial flooring contractor to a new “position” as an Information Security student at Springfield. And he couldn’t be more satisfied. “Every single job you look at, [employers] want to see that you have experience in addition to classroom work. [Through the program at Springfield Technical College] I’ve actually worked on devices and reconfigured them…that’s the solid foundation that employers want to see.”

Finally, in our third segment, we take a look at the cutting-edge field of Fuel Cell Technology and learn how students at Stark State College are not only responding to industry needs — they’re staying ahead of them!

“A student who studies fuel cells is going to have a wide range of opportunities available when he graduates,” says Justin Ruflin of Contained Energy, LLC. “Fuel cell technicians are needed within the lab itself to help build the technology, while scientists are busy figuring out how to solve the challenges within the fuel cell industry and managers are running the companies.” So whether a person is interested in building fuel cells, understanding the properties of fuel cells or creating new materials to increase fuel cell performance, there’s likely to be a job opportunity available — and it’s likely to be a good-paying job offering employees a lot of responsibility.

ATETV Episode 39: Helping to Shape Technologies of the Future

Monday, June 21st, 2010

This week, we look at how Advanced Technological Education programs not only enable students to craft their own futures, but also help them to shape the future of emerging technologies .

We begin with our first segment at Florence -Darlington Technical College, where John Evans, a graduate of the school’s Electrical Engineering program, credits his ATE education with providing him with the valuable first-hand experience that led to his current job as a technician at ESAB Welding and Cutting Center.

As John notes, his everyday work routine includes “a lot of math, a lot of calculating, a lot of formulas in order to [determine] the voltages you need. This [requires a particular] way of thinking and troubleshooting.”

Through his training at Florence-Darlington, including a hands-on internship, John was able to acquire the demanding skill set that the position requires. “If I didn’t go to school, there would be no way that I could just come out here and do what I’m doing now and at [this] level,” he notes. “A person couldn’t come in off the street and [do this job].” Of particular value, he says, was the “double dose” of experience he received throughout his school program, as he gained classroom experience in the mornings and headed off to an internship in the afternoons where he applied the skills he’d mastered in the classroom.

In our second segment, we learn that employers in Alternative Energy fields are also looking to hire well-rounded individuals.

“What I’m looking for is students with initiative and ambition and smarts who are going to fit into areas like technicians and service personnel, and installation personnel,” explains Mark Fleiner of Rolls Royce Fuel Cell Systems. “[I need] people who have good hands, good minds, who don’t need a lot of direction, who can see things [for themselves] and are willing to [actively] participate, maybe say, ‘Hey, we could do it better this way.’”

Within these numerous Alternative Energy fields — Solar, Wind, Hydrogen, and Fuel Cell Technology, for example — there is plenty of room for students to make their own mark. “These educational programs are very flexible, very adaptable,” explains Diane Auer Jones of The Washington Campus. “[Today's technological education programs] have the ability to really figure out where the workforce needs are for both today and tomorrow and are able to address those needs very quickly.”

And, as we learn in our third segment, one thriving example of alternative energy is Fuel Cell Technology. This efficient and environmentally friendly source of power offers a wide range of applications for our society — and a wide range of career opportunities for tomorrow’s technology students.

As Rolls Royce’s Mark Fleiner notes, “Fuel cells basically can be applied anywhere that power is being used.” So, whether energy is required to move an automobile, to light up a building or put electricity on the grid, or to power a ship or airplane, fuel cells can fit the bill.

The end result: A healthy environmental footprint. “Right now, with our world’s increasing population, the burden on natural resources — crude oil, coal — is [rapidly] increasing ,” explains Pallavi Pharkya of Contained Energy, LLC. “Our [fuel cell] technology would help ease that burden. Energy is a global issue.”

Or, as her colleague Benjamin Emley puts it, “Fuel cells are the future.”

ATETV Episode 36: Math & Science = Success

Monday, May 24th, 2010

This week, we learn how a love of math and science can be applied to a challenging career in Laser and Photonics Technologies, talk with a student who is charting a new future in Geographic Information Systems, and hear how one community college is preparing students to meet the growing demand in Alternative Energy Technology.

In our first segment, we visit Central Carolina Community College where students in the Laser and Photonics Technologies program explain why the math skills they gained in high school are so important to their current curriculum.

“We do a lot of math here — trig and trig functions and a lot of algebra,” explains student Katie Renshaw. “I like technology, I think it’s cool and whenever I take placement tests I have good math and science scores, so that was a plus [in choosing to study Lasers and Photonics].”

Adds student Todd Devine, “[I would tell high school students] if you are interested in lasers, focus on your math and science because those are the things that will help you in the laser field. It [involves] a lot of equations and angles and a lot of theorems, so you need to make sure that you remember them and study them.”

Central Carolina Community College’s Gary Beasley agrees. “If you like science and math, then [Laser and Photonics Technologies] is an exciting field to get into. We give students a placement test and if they don’t score high enough to get into the program, they can take courses to increase their knowledge in whatever area [they need] whether it’s a math developmental course or an English developmental course.”

And if you like lasers, the effort will be worth it. “If you’re struggling with math in high school, if you just study hard and work through, it will all pay off,” says Todd. ” [This field is growing] and it’s not going to disappear.”

Another field that offers students a growing selection of career opportunities is in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), as we learn in our second segment, when we talk with Dave Nicholson, a student at Central Piedmont Community College.

“Geospatial technology is taking known location attributes from the real world and putting them on paper and making a map out of them,” Dave explains. The technology is used in a wide variety of applications, and for Dave, his long-time interest in maps has led him to go back to school in search of a new career and a secure future. “When I got out of high school back in the 70s, I ended up going into the Navy.” Since then, Dave explains, he has also worked in commercial electronics, as a radio technician and for a paging company. After being laid off from several jobs, Dave learned about the GIS program at Central Piedmont, and is not only looking to pursue a rapidly growing field, but a field that he thoroughly enjoys.

Finally, in our third segment, we visit Sinclair Community College where a program in Alternative Energy Technologies is preparing students for the explosion of jobs being created in the fields of solar, wind and biodiesel energy.

As employer Mike Traen of Certified Energey Raters, LLC, explains, the country’s growing awareness of the need for responsible energy use has led to tremendous advances in Alternative Energy technologies. “I think that this is important for [everyone] to understand.”

At Sinclair Community College, students are putting their newfound understanding of Alternative Energy to use on their own campus. “Biodiesel fuel has to meet a certain quality standard so that it can be used in equipment without causing damage,” explains Instructor Bob Gilbert. “It became a real educational tool [for us] when our students were able to test the biodieselthey were producing in our college’s own lawn equipment to make sure it was within the required standards.”

And this type of innovative application is beneficial for the students and college alike. As student Senya Oji-Njideka sums up, “I’m glad that Sinclair is so on top of their game.”

ATETV Episode 27: The Numbers Add Up

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

This week we begin by exploring Lasers and Photonics Technologies and Wind Energy technology, and end by focusing on the ways that community colleges are providing students with the core math skills they’ll need to succeed in both of these fields –as well as every other area of technology.

In our first segment, we meet Central Carolina Community College student Todd Devine, who is enrolled in the college’s Laser and Photonics Engineering program. “I have always liked lasers, and ever since I was little I was tinkering with things, and it’s just grown from there.” This lifelong interest is now evolving into a promising career path, with laser technology being used in fields as diverse as surgical procedures and music and video technology.

“Every day there is a new application coming out for lasers, so it’s creating a lot of jobs,” notes Central Carolina’s Gary Beasley. “And guess what? There are not enough technicians to support those applications in the medical field or in telecommunications.” But Central Carolina’s program aims to change that, and Todd Devine is proof positive.

“When I graduate, I think I am going to look toward the medical fields that are dealing with lasers, and help mankind in some way,” says Todd. “I want to do something useful for the world.”

Similarly, as we see in our second segment, the students in the Wind Energy program at Wyoming’s Laramie County Community College are also looking at their technology curriculum as important not just for their careers, but also for our environment and our society.

“When my students come to class, people aren’t sleeping,” says Laramie’s Michael Schmidt. “They are very focused on what they are learning. These people are excited.”

The Wind Energy program is designed to prepare technicians to go into the wind industry to repair utility skill wind turbines, large commercial machines with complex control systems that allow them to produce energy efficiently and to maximize capability. The highly skilled students who emerge from the program are versed in all aspects of wind energy technology, from introduction to wind power, to electricity, hydraulics, and all of the basic core skills needed to excel in the field.

And essential to students’ success is a firm foundation in mathematics. “Math and science are very critical,” adds Michael Schmidt. “Mathematics, specifically, apply to the technical part of the program. Our technicians have to have an understanding of how power is produced. They have to have an understanding of power quality because this power is ultimately delivered to a utility, ends up on a grid and is then delivered to the consumer.”

Which brings us to our third segment, which shows us why community colleges are great places for students to get up to speed in algebra, calculus and other core math skills.

“All technology goes back to math,” notes Scott Edwards of Juniper Networks. “The more you know about math, the better you understand it, and the more clear will be the complex topics that you are going to learn in the future.”

And community college programs provide the support and guidance to enable students to tackle the challenges of higher level mathematics. As Laser and Photonics student Todd Devine tells prospective students, “If you are struggling with math in high school right now, [you should know] that if you just study hard and work through it, it will all pay off.”

Adds Andrew Maynard of the Springfield Technical Community College faculty, “The nice thing about community colleges is that if you are not up to speed in math — whether because you’ve been out of school for awhile or because you had trouble with math in high school — we offer remedial classes to help bring you up to the college level, so you don’t fail.”

And, as this week’s episode shows, success in math translates to success in any technology career.