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Greenforce Initiative Brings Clean Energy Jobs to Community Colleges

Corporations and governmental organizations have poured billions of dollars into clean energy initiatives over the past few years. But with those investments comes a need for qualified green collar workers

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Corporations and governmental organizations have poured billions of dollars into clean energy initiatives over the past few years. But with those investments comes a need for qualified green collar workers–between 1998, and 2007, cleanenergy jobs grew at a national rate of 9.1%, compared to 3.7% for traditional jobs.

Enter the Greenforce Initiative, a two-year project of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Jobs for the Future (JFF) that will create green jobs training programs at community colleges in North Carolina, Northern Virginia, Metro Chicago, Southern Texas, Seattle and Michigan.

The Greenforce Initiative will take advantage of the large pool of low-skilled workers in community colleges, training them for the labor requirements of clean energy. “There are 1,200 community colleges in the United States, making them the nation’s largest job training, certification and preparation platform,” said Jack Litzenberg,
senior program director at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, in a statement. “The
Greenforce Initiative will capitalize on those schools’ strengths to
help prepare low-income, low-skilled workers in Michigan and across the country for success in the global green economy.”

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Students at traditional universities also have access to green jobs training, albeit not through the Greenforce Initiative. IBM and Columbia recently teamed up to provide green IT resources to Columbia students, and Pennsylvania State University has a smart grid work training program.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more

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