America’s Community Colleges Unite to Train Students for Jobs in the Green Economy: The SEED Center Launches.
Yesterday, Ed Begley Jr. actor, environmental activitist and ecoAmerica board member announced the launch of The SEED Center at the AASHE Conference in Denver. The SEED Center, stands for sustainable education and economic development www.theSEEDcenter.org. The SEED Center is a leadership initative, free resource center and online sharing environment for community colleges to dramamtically scale up programs to educate America's green workforce. In partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges, The SEED Center already has over 300 community college presidents signed up. Read the full press release below and check out Ed Begley Jr. announcing the program and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan talking about The SEED Center below.
Over 300 Schools Join Leadership Initiative to Create More Competitive
WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To lead in the
accelerating green economy, America needs millions of new skilled workers
for jobs in renewable energy, energy efficiency, green building and
sustainability. To meet this demand, America's community colleges are
joining the first nationwide initiative to collaborate on and implement
programs to train students with the education and skills needed to succeed.
Launching today, The SEED Center (http://www.theSEEDcenter.org) is a
leadership initiative, free resource center, and online sharing environment
for community colleges to dramatically scale up programs to educate
America's 21st century workforce to compete in the green economy. SEED -
Sustainability Education and Economy Development - is a landmark effort by
the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and ecoAmerica to
enable the nation's 1,200 two-year colleges in the critical task of
preparing the American workforce with the skills needed to succeed in
sustainable, clean tech and other green economy jobs.
More than 300 community college presidents - over one-third of the AACC
members - have already signed on to the initiative, far ahead of
expectations for this stage of the program's development. SEED was publicly
launched today at a meeting of the Association for the Advancement of
Sustainability in Higher Education in Denver.
"Community colleges are uniquely positioned to be leaders of the
sustainability movement, focusing on local economic development and
partnering with businesses and government to provide access to jobs," said
John J. Sygielski, president of Mt. Hood Community College in Oregon and
chair of the AACC Board of Directors. "Community colleges are the backbone
of American workforce training, and now is the time for us to step up and
help our students and communities restore American prosperity."
Many community colleges have already built innovative training programs
preparing students for long-term careers in the green economy. From The
SEED Center's case studies:
-- To meet immediate local industry demand for trained windpower
technicians, Columbia Gorge Community College in Oregon initiated a
short-term training project that led to a 92% placement rate and
graduates earning $20-$24 an hour. The college has now transformed that
course into a longer-term program, which forges a career path toward a
two-year degree. The program has become a national model.
-- Cape Cod Community College in Massachusetts began 10 years ago to train
technicians for jobs in the area's burgeoning number of wind farms.
Hundreds of students have earned transfer degrees in coastal management,
solar technology, wastewater and other careers, including cleanup of
Superfund sites at an abandoned military base.
-- Oakland Community College in Michigan has more than 350 students
enrolled in its Renewable Energies program and related courses. OCC
students gain field experience in the community, refurbishing public
buildings with renewable materials, performing energy audits for
government and working with small businesses and hospitals to reduce
waste and pollution.
"There is a vast amount of information on green jobs training out
there, but SEED cuts through the clutter and brings together the best
resources, providing them for free to all community colleges," said Amy
Golden, Executive Director at ecoAmerica, a nonprofit organization that
partnered with the AACC to create The SEED Center. "Until now there hasn't
been a nationally available network or resources to connect schools with
advanced programs with schools still developing their curricula. The SEED
Center will fill that important void."
For community colleges seeking to develop green jobs courses and
programs, the SEED Center offers a broad array of free resources. Content
includes curriculum resources, industry and employment information, case
studies and other information, with additional support for program
implementation, faculty development, and funding. Initial subject areas
include solar, wind, energy efficiency, green building and sustainable
education, expertly curated by a Technical Advisory Group of leading
academic, government and industry sustainability and clean tech
authorities. An online sharing environment, including discussion boards and
a wiki, provides the opportunity for faculty to share best practices and
learnings, ultimately contributing to the continual growth and refinement
of the resources offered.
SEED will reach beyond the campus. Community college presidents who
sign on as members pledge not only to foster the center's programs at their
colleges, but also to build bridges to local business, government and
nonprofit communities to connect training to jobs.
The SEED Center is being developed by the American Association of
Community Colleges and ecoAmerica, with funding from The Kresge Foundation,
Surdna Foundation, and Flora Family Foundation.
The American Association of Community Colleges (http://www.aacc.nche.edu) is a
national organization representing the nation's close to 1,200 community
colleges and their more than 12 million students. Community colleges are
the largest and fastest growing segment of U.S. higher education.
ecoAmerica (ecoAmerica.org) is a nonprofit that uses consumer research
and strategic partnerships to create innovative programs that engage
mainstream Americans in climate and environmental solutions. ecoAmerica
develops and launches behavior-changing programs that make environmental
solutions personally relevant. ecoAmerica has created numerous programs
including The American College and University Presidents' Climate
Commitment, The Princeton Review Green College Ratings, Nature Rocks and