Training for Green Jobs is Crucial for the Clean Energy Transition

We just hosted a half day workshop with Jobs for the Future at the Greening of the Campus Conference: Leading for a Sustainable Future: Green Workforce Training.

We wanted to feature the role of community colleges in workforce training, because we feel now (as we did six months ago) that enough attention hasn't been paid to the need for the campus to act as laboratory for green jobs training. The session featured some great speakers and ideas:

  • Gloria Mwase from Jobs for the Future discussed the opportunities for under-served communities in the new clean energy economy, positioning green jobs as an important pathway out of poverty.
  • Jay Antle from Johnson County Community College in Kansas helped the audience understand all the different definitions of a green job (and how difficult it is to define a “green job”) and talked about JCCC’s green workforce training programs on sustainable agriculture, energy auditing, and for corporate sustainability officers.
  • Jennifer Hayward from Lane Community College in Oregon presented on how Lane uses their campus projects for hands-on training opportunities for their students in the workforce training programs.
  • Ragini Kapadia from the AFL-CIO highlighted best practices in working with unions and presented a couple of campus/union partnerships.
  • Patrick Fitzgerald from National Wildlife Federation reviewed funding opportunities for campuses committed to providing green workforce training for their students. Patrick also stressed that education and training needs to be supported through the climate bill if a clean energy future is to become a reality.
  • Finally, Julian Keniry, also from National Wildlife Federation, discussed how campuses can be used as a laboratory for job creation. As campuses construct new green buildings or retrofit existing buildings with more efficient systems, students can be brought into the process to earn hands-on experiences that will help them in their careers.

To learn more about green workforce training:
Webinar: Preparing for a Green Workforce – How are community colleges and other campuses preparing their students? November 19 at 2:00pm Eastern.
Blog: Green Jobs CentralAn overview of U.S. employment in the coming green economy.

Members of the Campus Ecology team are blogging at Greening of the Campus VIII at Ball State University. Kristy Jones is Manager of Campus Climate Education and Action.

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Published: September 22, 2009