Colleges Can Shape a Green Economy, Says SEED

The Sustainability Education and Economic Development (SEED) initiative, created by the American Association of Community Colleges‘ (AACC), is launching the SEED Green Action Plan Series, a series of models and resources for colleges looking to incorporate sustainability measures into their campuses. SEED was designed to revamp the curricula and help two-year colleges and their communities become more sustainable. The plans look to renewable and sustainable technologies as a method of expanding economies and job markets, and boosting enrollment for the colleges themselves.

The first plan is Creating an Environment for Growing Green Jobs: Community Colleges Shaping State and Local Energy Policies, and it details how colleges can play more active roles in their states’ adoption of clean technology and energy policies, and ultimately help the state expand its economy and job market. An expansion of the job market requires greater job training and education, which benefits the colleges.

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As the economy becomes more and more green focused, programs like SEED’s will be needed to continue integrating green job training into preexisting school curricula. Tools like this will be needed to continue to build on what is an emerging green economy. The solar PV, wind and smart grid industries have been adding jobs at an extremely rapid pace since 2003, and studies show that the average wage in a cleantech job is about 13% higher than other US wages.

“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 president and CEO of AACC Walter G. Bumphus. “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.”

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.