BUILDING THE “GREEN-COLLAR” WORKFORCE IN TWO-YEAR COLLEGE GEOSCIENCES PROGRAMS
We have developed a foundational energy course - Energy and the Environment - which fulfills the general education lab science component of the AA degree for students looking to transfer, and is a fit for career and technical students in industrial technology, HVAC, and utility line technician programs. The curriculum focuses on fundamental concepts of energy generation and environmental impact. Analysis of energy fundamentals, fossil fuel exploration and use, atmospheric pollution, global climate change, nuclear energy, alternative energy sources, and energy conservation are all directly related to geologic processes. In addition, we have developed new geosciences career and technical courses including photovoltaic systems, solar/photovoltaic design and installation, solar water and space heating, solar thermal design and installation, and energy management, efficiency and conservation which fit naturally into the energy-related career pathways within the geosciences discipline. These new courses are part of newly created certificate programs in photovoltaics, energy efficiency, and solar thermal.
This presentation will discuss the role of geosciences programs at community colleges in training these new workers. Specific focus will be on our development of a sustainable technology program at Metropolitan Community College – Kansas City detailing the joys and challenges of finding money for infrastructure, working with building design teams, developing curriculum, and building a career/technical program that is on the forefront of this emerging industry.