Thursday, August 4, 2011

GERMANNA RECEIVES GRANT TO SUPPORT USING NEW GREEN ACADEMIC BUILDING AT FREDERICKSBURG CAMPUS AS A TEACHING TOOL FOR STUDENTS, AREA RESIDENTS

Germanna Community College has been recognized as a recipient of a $3,000 Greenforce Initiative Innovation Mini Grant. With support from this grant, GCC will design a program to train students to be guides for its new academic facility at its Fredericksburg Area Campus, which will be a green building, and provide an opportunity for engineering students to learn from the architects and builders as construction is in progress. The new Academic Services Building, slated for March 2012 completion, will incorporate reduced energy consumption concepts including a vegetated roof, passive solar heating, automatic shades, native plantings, water conservation, and superefficient heating and cooling. In total, four schools in Virginia and more than 15 nationally have been awarded a grant through the Greenforce Initiative.

The National Wildlife Federation and Jobs for the Future have joined forces on the Greenforce Initiative, a two-year project started in 2010, to spur innovation in the role of community colleges in the coming green-jobs revolution.


“We want to thank the Greenforce Initiative for helping us create an opportunity to increase the knowledge and awareness of green building and methods of reducing energy consumption,” said Dr. William Fiege, Germanna Dean of Professional and Technical Studies. “We are developing curricula and teaching modules for GCC’s engineering program that engage the mechanical systems and renewable energy features of the building. Here, the building itself is the laboratory, and students will get hands-on experience monitoring and calibrating a working green building.”

With support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and CS Mott Foundation, The Greenforce Initiative is strengthening green career pathways leading to postsecondary credentials and family sustaining careers; increasing access and success for lower-skilled adults; and using campus “greening” or sustainability efforts as “learning laboratories” for education and training. Building on the combined experience of NWF and JFF in environmental sustainability and workforce development, respectively, this commitment provides assistance to community colleges in six regions: Metro Chicago, Michigan, North Carolina, northern Virginia, Seattle, and South Texas. The Initiative has hosted eight summits in six locations, engaging hundreds of community college staff and faculty.

“We face a major challenge to retool and rebuild our workforce and meet the challenges of the coming clean energy economy," said Lisa Madry, Campus Field Director, National Wildlife Federation. "The Greenforce commitment will help accelerate America's ability to tackle the climate crisis while creating economic opportunities and pathways out of poverty."

Community colleges are increasingly called upon to both prepare graduates with the 21st century skills needed in a greener economy while also protecting community health and sustainability. "Post-secondary credentials are increasingly required for careers that pay family-sustaining wages," said Gloria Mwase, Program Director, Jobs for the Future. "While the labor demand in key "green" sectors offer job growth opportunities in many communities, it is critical that we ensure that under-prepared adults can access and succeed in these careers."

In Virginia, there are more than 336,000 jobs in a representative group of job areas that could see job growth or wage increases by putting global warming solutions to work, according to Huey Battle from the Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board. The Virginia Community College System is committed to supporting the growth of sustainability-skilled jobs in Virginia, “By 2015 the Virginia Community College System hopes to be working with approximately 12,000 Virginia companies and we are starting to see demand for green jobs in Virginia in the weatherization, HVAC, and wind industries” said VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois.

Since its formation in 1936, National Wildlife Federation has worked with affiliates across the country to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for future generations. NWF seeks to engage and educate its 4 million members, partners and supporters with a focus on restoring habitat, confronting global warming and connecting people with nature. To learn more about NWF’s environmental higher education programs, visit the Campus Ecology www.campusecology.org and Greenforce Initiative www.greenforceinitiative.org pages.

Jobs for the Future develops, implements, and promotes new education and workforce strategies that help communities, states, and the nation compete in a global economy. In more than 200 communities across 43 states, JFF improves the pathways leading from high school to college to family-sustaining careers.

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