College plans for green courses

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Glendale Community College officials are gearing up to offer a new training program in green technology education after receiving a $100,000 state grant to develop an online curriculum.

Administrators will use the funds to craft online distance-learning courses that will help students prepare for jobs related to renewable energy technology as part of the state’s pilot program to put more people to work in what is expected to be a growing industry, interim President/Supt. Dawn Lindsay said Monday.

The college was one of 10 institutions to receive a portion of the $500,000 doled out by the California Department of Education and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office for green technology education.

“I think it’s a huge opportunity for us because I think we’re just really starting to investigate where it could take us,” Lindsay said.

The curriculum will initially include an introductory course on green technology, and others related to architecture and building codes for energy efficiency.

Those courses may offer critical skills for use in Glendale and Burbank, where many buildings will likely need to be retrofitted for sustainability, Burbank Water and Power General Manager Ron Davis said.

While buildings can be insulated, or weatherized, to efficiently control temperature and increase energy efficiency, not many workers know how to make such changes, despite the clear need for them, Davis said.

“There are going to be all kinds of these jobs, and it’s going to be a changing economy as we learn how to operate more of these things,” Davis said.

College officials expect to eventually offer certification through the program so participants can break into the field, they said.

“I think it’s really important that we expand our career technical education program, so this is a great way to move in this direction,” said Trustee Ann Ransford, who has frequently mentioned the importance of turning the college into a destination for training related to renewable energy technology.

The state educational agencies, in offering the funds to the college, anticipate that its online courses will benefit students in rural areas who may not have access to the scientific and technical expertise available here, Lindsay said.

That expanded appeal will not only help the college reach more students, but allow it to contribute to the national goals of training a new workforce for what President Obama and other leaders expect will develop into a vital segment of the economy, officials said.

“We anticipate a growing demand for green,” Lindsay said. “This is where we need to be.”

Ransford said she hoped the college’s new courses, which Lindsay is planning to start in the spring, will offer students a foundation in a developing field.

“It’s sort of like a career ladder,” Ransford said.


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