It’s no secret that the West is pioneering a “new clean energy economy” and that Colorado is a front runner in the development of green …
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It’s no secret that the West is pioneering a “new clean energy
economy” and that Colorado is a front runner in the development of
green businesses and jobs.
Community colleges across the state are joining the effort to
train a renewable energy workforce.
Arapahoe Community College is one of the first schools in
Colorado and in the nation to adopt the “Green Advantage” program
this fall, a model program providing green credentials for workers
in the building industry.
Red Rocks Community College is the other school piloting the
program this fall.
Soon, all 13 community colleges in Colorado will offer the
training and certification.
“The (program) will help provide a foundation for job
opportunities in building Colorado’s New Energy Economy,” said
Pamela Campos, Environmental Defense Fund Staff Attorney.
Arapahoe Community College’s role is to administer the test for
the Green Advantage Certification.
Certification as Green Advantage builder better prepares
students to find work in the state’s burgeoning new-energy
technology and construction fields, Gov. Bill Ritter said at a
Sept. 30 press conference at Red Rocks Community College.
In order to become a certified practitioner, students must
demonstrate foundational knowledge, comprehension, application and
ability to analyze green construction concepts, materials, and
practices by passing the exam with a score of 75 percent or higher,
the Web site says.
Particular emphasis is given to understanding the role of
construction personnel in improving the environmental and health
attributes of their environment.
“The West has big clean energy resources and that means big job
opportunities for students with the right training,” said John
Nielsen, Western Resource Advocates Energy Program director.
The cornerstone of the new-energy economy will be retrofitting
energy-inefficient homes as well as constructing new
energy-efficient buildings, according to a new-energy jobs report
on the governor’s web site. The report estimates that by 2030,
energy-efficient construction may account for 30 percent of the
Positions range in salary from $20,000 per year for an installer
to $140,000 for a director of development position.
Over the past five years, 2,300 megawatts of new wind projects
have been deployed in the region, generating enough electrical
power to serve the needs of about 1.7 million homes, according to
Clean Energy Pioneers, the coalition of agricultural, energy and
conservation organizations creating a new frontier of economic
opportunity through homegrown clean energy solutions.
Other abundant clean energy resources in the West include wind,
solar and geothermal energy.
And it’s at community colleges and technical schools where
students have the most access to hands-on programs, offering
degrees and certificates in the arenas involving solar power,
biofuels, wind and geothermal energy, according to the Clean Energy
“There are many more programs and opportunities at community
colleges, technical schools, universities, and other institutions
across the region,” Clean Energy Pioneers said.
Community Colleges in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico,
Nevada, Utah and Wyoming are joining Colorado’s efforts and
pioneering clean energy educational programs.
In September of 2008, Arapahoe Community College launched its
Solar Energy Installer Photovoltaic Program, preparing entry-level
installers for the NABCEP Exam, a recognized credential for
solar-pv systems installation. A Solar Hot Water Program provides
installation training for thermal solar systems.
An interactive map — available at www.CleanEnergyPioneers.org
— highlights the new programs and other community colleges across
the Rocky Mountain West that offer training programs to prepare
students for opportunities in the West’s clean energy economy.
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