More colleges in the United States are striving to produce future employees who are more green as part of an effort to preserve the environment for future generations. These efforts involve 425 community colleges who seek to make the future workforce more sustainable. There are also many online college degree programs that are taking this initiative as well.
The clean energy efforts are part of an initiative called Sustainability Education and Economic Development, or SEED – which comes from the American Association of Community Colleges. The initiative’s first action plan is called “Creating an Environment for Growing Green Jobs: Community Colleges Shaping State and Local Energy Policies.”
This plan emphasizes how colleges can work to support regional and state clean energy policies that will lead to more green jobs and green jobs training.
“For an emerging industry like this—where job growth potential is significant but great uncertainty surrounds market conditions—colleges can be doing a lot to prepare for promising future opportunities,” said Walter Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges. “These action plans will help colleges not only to build a skilled pipeline of workers, but also to become change agents in regional efforts to grow the green economy itself.”
Clean Energy Jobs Remain a Strong Need in the United States for Their Benefits
According to a recent Brookings Institution report, newer businesses that produce clean energy jobs – particularly those in the smart grid, solar photovoltaic and wind energy industries – have added clean energy jobs at a “torrid” pace.
However, more clean energy jobs are necessary because these types of jobs feature median wages that are 13 percent higher than the median wages for jobs overall in the United States.
“There are a growing number of innovative community college practices in the green space,” said Bill Moses, program director for education at The Kresge Foundation, an organization that supports college pathways. “These plans will help to identify some of the fundamental steps already taken to promote the green economy and support hundreds of other community colleges to effectively link students to long-term careers.”
Clean energy jobs not only increase working opportunities for today’s Americans but also allow the United States to become more independent in the energy realm.
“Community colleges are uniquely positioned to be leaders of the sustainability and green economy movement,” Bumphus said. “The SEED Green Action Plan series, aimed at senior administrators, faculty, and staff, is an important resource to ultimately speed the implementation of these efforts.”
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