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Cuyamaca's College's 'Green Team' on a roll

Posted on: Oct 10, 2012 1:00:00 AM
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Contact: Della Elliott, della.elliott@gcccd.edu (619) 644-7690

If Cuyamaca College grant writers were members of a college sports team, they would be basking in the glory of a triple-season winning streak. You’ve heard of the Dream Team? Meet Cuyamaca’s Green Team.

Since June 2009, the crew has had had every one of its 39 grant proposals funded for a total of $7.3 million to train hundreds of students for solid-paying, dependable jobs, including those in up-and-coming green industries. The grants have also funded pilot programs, which have since been expanded and modeled by other colleges.

The latest win for the five-member team is a pair of grants totaling more than $730,000 from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. The two Industry-Driven Regional Collaborative grants were two of nine approved for funding out of a total of 41 proposals statewide for workforce training in everything from design robotics to nanotechnology.

Cuyamaca was the only multiple awardee, with both funded grants aimed at training workers for green jobs. One is for a sustainable infrastructure project to train at least 65 electricians in two tracks: installing and maintaining advanced lighting controls that use occupancy sensors and photo sensors or installing and maintaining plug-in stations for electric vehicles. The training ranges from 50-70 hours and prepares workers for industry-certification exams.

In addition to establishing a program for other colleges to emulate, Cuyamaca will also be able to support businesses seeking affordable training options for their employees. The college will work closely with the electricians’ union and key industry partners to draw students to the program.

The second grant is for training workers in sustainable supply chain management, a 150-hour certificate program for up to 60 students to learn how to audit the supply chains of businesses to determine their sustainability. The college’s grant application notes that companies incorporating sustainable supply chain management have a competitive advantage due to the significant social and economic value of such practices.

In its March 2012 report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 26 percent job growth in this particular field between 2010-2020, compared to a 14 percent average job growth projected overall.

Each student who completes the sustainable supply chain management training will receive three industry-recognized credentials, including a LEED Green Associate certificate, and three Continuing Education certificates, as well as a 40-hour internship.

 “Cuyamaca College is currently leading the way in green technologies and has developed several new programs in response to California’s need for a trained workforce in green technology, clean energy and sustainability,” said Bill Garrett, president of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board.  “As industries and businesses respond to regulatory measures to protect the environment and natural resources, demand will grow for employees trained in these areas.”

A recent industry report showed that 25 percent of the nation’s solar energy jobs are in California and, as the state’s largest workforce –training providers, the state’s community colleges are uniquely positioned to produce the skilled employees to fuel the growth in green sustainability sectors.

A major success for Cuyamaca was a $1 million grant for its Green Building Training Collaborative, the largest state-sponsored green job training program in the nation, according to the college. The campus was also one of three to receive the 2012 California Community Colleges Board of Governors Energy and Sustainability Award.           

The grant team also struck gold in September with funding from San Diego Gas & Electric for two Green Futures grants totaling nearly $46,000 that will enhance outreach efforts and increase awareness about career opportunities in the fields of energy efficiency and sustainability.

 The San Diego Gas & Electric grants will fund the college’s Green Campus Project, which involves student leaders submitting proposals for energy-efficiency projects on campus as part of a Students for Change initiative. The second Green Futures grant will provide a green-career exploration class and internship opportunities to the local California Conservation Corps, which initially approached Cuyamaca College for the joint venture. Both initiatives will be launched this month.

  Jonathan Kropp, a grant director with the district’s Continuing Education and Workforce Training program  based at Cuyamaca College, credits good collaboration for the group’s success.

   “Our grants team participates on various industry and advisory committees and once the team hears about a need in industry, we begin researching labor market information  to assess if there really is a need on a large enough scale,” Kropp said “We do our due diligence in researching industry needs.”

     The team also confers with faculty and with college administrators to ensure proposed projects align with the college’s mission and the district’s educational master plan.

   Led by Jennifer Lewis, interim dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Training, the team also includes Molly Ash, an instructional operations specialist;  Linda Waring, director of the college’s Workplace Learning Resource Center, and Paolo Espaldon, a grants manager.

        men looking at solar panels

Among the projects funded by grants at Cuyamaca College were training classes in installing solar panels.

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