From the Central NC Greenforce Summit: Super CIP Reshaping Sustainable Programs Statewide

Intrepid Wildlife Promise blogger Max Greenberg here, stringing dispatches together once more from the frontlines of the green workforce development movement. Today we’re looking at the Central North Carolina Greenforce Summit in sunny Greensboro, 2004 inductee into the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Hall of Fame (and frequent host of the ACC tournament).

A big focus of the North Carolina Greenforce Summits so far has been the CODE GREEN Initiative and its SUPER Curriculum Improvement Project.

www.greenforceinitiative.orgHaywood Community College (HCC) and Wilson Community College (WCC) are the two founding signatories of the CODE GREEN Initiative, a North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) project intended “to develop and promote Sustainable programs across all 58 NCCCs through curriculum and campus development.” If you’re keeping score at home, that’s a lot of community colleges and a pretty ambitious program.

Among the CODE GREEN sub-projects is the SUPER CIP (Curriculum Improvement Project),  which consists of an audit of current sustainable courses, an initiative to develop new courses, and resources for all participant community colleges. From NC Community Colleges:

Like other states, North Carolina’s economy has shifted to include more sustainable products, practices, and technologies than ever before. Job and career opportunities abound in areas such as mass transit, wind and solar power exploration, as well as construction and retrofitting for greater energy efficiency, but training must also be top quality and up to date. The Code Green Super CIP will explore the best ways to provide that training as well as the highly specialized credentials a greener workplace will demand.

The NCCCS Super CIP consists of five sectors: energy, transportation, engineering technology, environment and building:

1) Energy Sector: Central Carolina Community College
Director: Andrew McMahan, Biofuels Program

From CCCC:

Among its achievements, Central Carolina was the first North Carolina community college to develop associate in applied science degree programs in sustainable agriculture and biofuels. In the fall, it will offer another new program: an AAS in sustainability technologies. The college is also focusing on green construction, with the energy-efficient LEED-certified Sustainable Technologies Center, joint Chatham County-CCCC library, and new Siler City Center scheduled to open in the fall in Chatham County.

2) Transportation Sector: Blue Ridge Community College
Director: Chris English, Applied Technology Department

From Blue Ridge Community College Times-News Column (PDF):

[The transportation sector] will involve the review and reorganization of transportation curricula to determine the best methods to infuse green technologies and sustainability concepts and at the same time streamline the curriculum taxonomy and remove duplication. Project Director Chris English, long-time instructor at Blue Ridge, will assemble a team of experts … [to] review the transportation programs and curriculum standards and study successful curriculum improvement projects nationwide. Changes to curricula may include streamlining taxonomy, elimination of programs, identification of core concepts, and, if needed, adding new “green” courses.

3) Engineering Sector: Central Piedmont Community College
Director: Rose Mary Seymour, Geomatics & Sustainability Division

Short and to-the-point, from CPCC:

Improving engineering technologies and industrial/manufacturing programs and infusing sustainability issues throughout these programs to prepare community college students of North Carolina for the green workforce.

4) Environment Sector: Davidson County Community College
Director: Holly Weir Davidson, Environmental Sector

From the Thomasville Times :

It creates awareness and brings environmental stewardship to our students,” (Weir) said. “This can dramatically impact our community as well. Integrating these environmental concepts into the curriculum will automatically affect their home life, their personal life. You can realize the impact we can have on the workforce and the economy.

5) Building Sector: Wilson Community College
Director: Rob Holsten Wilson CC

From The Wilson Daily Times:

This will completely change the dynamics of the curriculum in our building sector,” [Denise Sessoms, vice president of instruction/student services] said. “The beauty of the proposal is that we can make these improvements, all the while continuing to provide our students with a well-rounded education.” […] According to Sessoms, Wilson Community College will eventually hold a series of focus groups involving local industry professionals to assess how to better prepare students for success in the 21st century workforce.

Project Manager: Butch Grove, Wake Technical Community College

Central Carolina and Davidson Community Colleges are among today’s summit participants, and Blue Ridge and Central Piedmont attended the Western North Carolina summit in Asheville. Wilson Community College is scheduled to attend next Friday’s Eastern North Carolina summit.

Solar panel installation (flickr | OregonDOT)

You know the drill: NWF partnered with Jobs for the Future (JFF) to launch the program in September of 2010, thanks in part to the Bank of America Charitable Foundation grant and a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.  Greenforce was founded in an effort to strengthen the capacity of community colleges to develop, enhance or refine green career pathway programs. So far, the initiative has partnered with community colleges in North Carolina, Virginia, Chicago, Texas, Seattle, and Michigan. You can learn more about the program here and follow the initiative on Twitter @Greenforce.

Stay tuned for more on the North Carolina-based Greenforce Summits , including a full news article coming next week.