NEWS & ANALYSIS ...
Grant Equips Green Training
Programs for Long Haul
reen-collar jobs already have provided a much-needed shot
in the arm to the national economy. Now, support from The
Kresge Foundation will enable the American Association of
Community Colleges (AACC) to position community colleges
as specialists for advanced career training in these job sectors,
for a sustained, long-term economic impact.
The one-year, $750,000 planning grant will provide the support necessary to
launch AACC’s Sustainability Task Force. The Task Force, comprising community
college presidents and senior administrators with significant expertise in green
jobs training and sustainable practices, will develop an agenda to infuse sustainability principles into community college education and workforce training. The
grant also will support the development of a new online resource center designed
to identify best practices in sustainability and provide a forum where colleges can
communicate and share new ideas about green workforce training and education.
The online resource center is a collaborative undertaking between AACC and
ecoAmerica, a leading nonprofit organization that uses strategic partnerships to
build action for environmental solutions. The online utility will provide community colleges with free, strategic guidance and a suite of green jobs workforce
development resources, including curricula, program guidance, career pathways
and certifications, workforce projections, funding opportunities, and more in areas
such as renewable energy, energy-efficient technologies, and building efficiency.
“Kresge is pleased to support this initiative to launch a coordinated community
college effort to set a high standard for sustainability and green jobs programming,”
said Bill Moses, Kresge’s program director for education. “Community colleges across
the country are in a great position to prepare the workforce in this growing sector.
This initiative will help them better understand what good institutional practices are
out there and ultimately more effectively link students to these high-growth jobs.”
Informed by recommendations from the Task Force and AACC’s member college
network, the initiative will also establish a longer-term sustainability agenda that
further defines a vision for community colleges and career opportunities in the
“In any emerging field, you have a lot of variation that goes on—not just state
to state, but even within the state, from college to college. What AACC can do
through this project is bring out examples of where programs are up and running
and where they are working as part of the national forum, which should lead to
more uniformity in programs and more clarification in the education and training
component,” said Jerry Weber, president of the College of Lake County in Illinois.
Weber, who heads up the Task Force, said the resource center also should help
colleges make better decisions and avoid duplicative efforts.
An Educated Citizenry
In addition to preparing students for green careers, the resource center will enable
colleges to more effectively weave environmental themes throughout general
curricula, ensuring all learners, regardless of discipline, become better stewards of
This approach has long driven reforms at places like Michigan’s Oakland Community College (OCC). OCC offers a variety of environmental-themed in-person and
online courses, including one that teaches
how to use and integrate sustainability
into everyday living; a second course
instructs businesses how to market and
sell green technologies and innovations.
“It’s really quite exciting that AACC is
taking this leadership role,” said OCC’s
Debra Rowe, a professor of energy man-
agement and renewable energy technol-
ogy and president of the U.S. Partnership
for Education for Sustainable Develop-
ment. “The resource center is going to
allow AACC members to harvest the best
resources and make them available to
everyone. Plus, information on how to
infuse sustainability and green educa-
tion throughout the curriculum—so
that we’ll develop not only the techni-
cians, but also the informed consumers,
the managers, the business owners, the
workers, and the community members
that we need in all facets of our society
to build a healthy green economy.”
For more sustainability resources, visit
the AACC Web site at www.aacc.nche.