Posts Tagged ‘green technology’

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 33: New Industries Mean New Opportunities

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

This week, we look at two up-and-coming industries – Wind Energy Technology and Architectural Technology – and take another look at internships and their key role in workforce development.

In our first segment, we talk with Mark Guilloz, operational manager for two wind power plants in Northeast Colorado operated by enXco Service Corporation, who explains that today’s need for skilled wind technicians is phenomenal. “The [wind power] industry is growing so rapidly that the manpower, the knowledge, the expertise that we’re reaching out for is very difficult to find.”

What does it take to make it in the field of Wind Energy? Well, a sense of adventure and a love of heights doesn’t hurt, according to Mark. “As a [Wind Energy] technician, you’re not just going to be in a controlled environment,” he explains. “In many cases…you’re going to kind of be in a pretzel sort of position, maybe upside down or sideways, and you may be sitting out on the ledge of a turbine…over 200 feet in the air with the wind blowing and maybe a little bit of snow.”

Now that’s a career that’s really soaring!

But, if you like to keep your feet planted on the ground, you might be better suited to the field of Architectural Technology, which, as we learn in Segment 2, is also undergoing rapid growth, the result of a current demand for green buildings.

Christina Sullenberger is enrolled in the Architectural Technologies program at Sinclair Community College. As she tells us, “Everything now is becoming green, so I’m continuing my education and furthering my knowledge and going into a field that’s up-and-coming.” With her newfound knowledge in energy analysis and other skills necessary for today’s emphasis on green buildings, Christina hopes that this experience will be a stepping stone on a path to a four-year college degree and a career as a licensed architect helping to ensure that both new and existing homes become more energy efficient.

Finally, in Segment 3, we learn how community college internships are preparing today’s students for the workforce of tomorrow. “Our primary mission is workforce development,” explains Robert Grove of Wake Technical Community College. “So we work very closely with industry representatives, and advisory committees [to develop curriculum].” But also key are the internships and co-op work experiences that enable Wake Forest students to get OJT – on-the-job training.

“To get out there and to get your hands in and work with people that are actually doing what you’re being trained to do is invaluable,” adds Robert. “You can’t replace that kind of experience. It’s fundamentally key to being successful.”

ATETV Episode 10: Back to Fundamentals

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

We’ve been talking a lot about big ideas in ATE on this blog: women in science and tech, social media as an educational tool, and the coming green economy. This week we’re turning to focus on two very practical and important parts of the educational experience: the math and science classes high school students need to be taking to get into ATE programs, and the internships that will help them land jobs after they complete their degrees.

But first, we profile student Matthew Kusza, who is studying environmental technology at Cape Cod Community College. Like many of our previous student profiles, Matthew turned to ATE to help him change careers. “I have four kids, and keeping busy with that and school and working to pay the bills,” he told us. “Most of the classes are at night, so that’s very supportive in terms of a work environment.”

Next we head out west to Southwestern College in San Diego, which has had fantastic success placing students in internships — and placing interns in jobs after school. “We still to this day have a hundred percent hiring rate with the industry of any intern that has completed a ten-week internship with an industry host,” explains Nouna Bakhiet, director of the school’s biotechnology program. By consulting with industry when designing their program, Southwestern is guaranteeing that students are graduating with the skills companies want and need.

Finally, we get back to basics and discuss the importance of basic math and science skills for ATE students. It’s not just that taking those classes in high school will better prepare students for ATE programs; it’s also essential for landing a job afterwards. “In our world, it’s of utmost importance that they have science and math because without that, they don’t have the technical expertise that we require,” explains Jill Heiden of South Carolina-based ESAB Welding and Cutting Products.

Math, science and internships: three fundamental building blocks of a strong ATE program and a successful career and in science and technology.