Standout Community Colleges to Highlight Friday’s Greenforce Summit in Greensboro

As late winter turns to true spring, the Greenforce tour rolls on in North Carolina, setting up shop at Guilford Technical Community College in Greensboro later this week.

Friday’s Central North Carolina Greenforce Summit, like the last event in Asheville, is designed as an opportunity for community colleges, workforce boards, employers and other organizations to share region-specific solutions for ramping up green workforce development through community college programming. The summit is the product of a partnership between the Greenforce Initiative and the Code Green Initiative, part of the North Carolina Community College System.

www.greenforceinitiative.orgThe Greensboro summit is the second of three in the state this year, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise: according to a 2009 Pew report (PDF), clean energy job growth outpaced overall job growth in North Carolina by nearly 9% between 1998 and 2007.

Some schools in the area started to shape their training programs to fit the green economy a long time ago. Among more than 20 Central North Carolina community colleges with representatives in attendance on Friday will be two schools already recognized for their leadership in the field in a study (PDF) by the Academy for Educational Development: Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh received a 2008 Innovation of the Year Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College in recognition of its Northern Wake facility, the first all-LEED campus in the country, and Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro was recognized in the same report for offering students “a focus on sustainable fuel production” among other green jobs coursework. I’ll be eager to hear what each school has accomplished since, and curious to see how others have followed their lead. See a full list of participating schools here.

Greensboro, NC | flickr: wwritter

In addition to recognizing past successes, the Greensboro summit will provide community colleges, workforce boards, employers and other organizations in the Piedmont region of North Carolina with an opportunity to to explore strategies for training community college students for the emerging green economy, and to provide the right “greenforce” training for low-skilled adults.

NWF partnered with Jobs for the Future (JFF) to launch (PDF) the Greenforce Initiative in September of 2010, thanks in part to the Bank of America Charitable Foundation grant as well as a $250,000 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 this, the second of the three North Carolina-based Greenforce Summits, including a full news article coming soon.