Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Positioning Oneself for Green Collar Jobs

Everyone knows that the best way to a solid job is a solid education but what many people may not be aware of is that more and more schools are taking the word sustainable to heart and offering comprehensive degrees in various Green fields of study! Berea College in Kentucky, Unity College in Maine and University of Wisconsin in River Falls are just three such schools focused on not only an environmental program of study but pursuing Green initiatives on campus as well.

Berea College offers a Sustainability and Environmental Studies Program which emphasizes sustainable based communities through the application of ecological design concepts. Although the program is only offered as a minor at this time, the efforts of the campus as a whole toward Greener practices make it a fantastic place to learn. On campus, the college houses the Ecovillage building where students take part in advancing the environmental benefits of sustainable campus living.

In addition to their program of study Berea has completed some pretty cool Green initiatives. Boone Tavern, the College run hotel, recently completed a $10 million renovation making them the first LEED certified hotel in Kentucky and their Lincoln Building was certified LEED as well, pretty impressive for a building constructed in 1886! Locally grown, organic foods are served in the Tavern and dining halls and they have installed a central plant which allows for optimal heating and cooling of the campus buildings while maintaining a much reduced energy consumption level.

Unity College is so dedicated to a Greener way of life the President of the facility currently lives in a LEED Platinum certified residence (the only one who does in the United States!) and the school only gets better from there. They are a small school (only about 500 students) that was founded in 1965 to specifically train in all areas of environmental focus. The campus is touted as being the entire 225 acres of land the college resides on.

Of their 24 Bachelor majors, twenty one are targeted specifically toward the environment. From Marine Biology or Forestry to Environmental Writing or Conservation Law Enforcement, it is likely Unity will have a degree program for those people interested in a little adventure with their environmental degree. They are even receptive to those who have been home schooled.

The River Falls Campus of the University of Wisconsin has partnered with three other campus locations (Parkside, Stout and Superior, as well as the Extension school) to provide a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Management degree. The program is an exclusive online program and is a 63 credit Bachelor program, certified and accredited. Direct from the website, the program prepares a student “to help businesses develop sustainable practices for a global marketplace, while still helping to preserve natural resources and strengthen community”.

The list of general competencies a student walks away with at the end of their studies is staggering. All students will be trained in the areas of energy, water consumption, world geography, carbon offsets and a slew of others too vast to mention. Their program is ideal for students who are interested in pursuing a career in a corporate environment but who still have a strong mindset on the planet we all live and work on, and their desire to help protect it.

These three very different schools, with widely varying approaches to learning about the world we live in, will help to provide the students of tomorrow the skills required to fill the Green Collar jobs which will be so desperately needed.


ecokaren said...

What a great way to start educating young men and women about the environment.
I wonder what the enrollments at these institutions are like.

There are Green MBA programs too now which is and

I wish I was young enough to go back to school. *sigh*

Judi FitzPatrick said...

ecokaren - one is never too old to go back to school!
Jenn - this is a great post, it's great to know these programs are out there for those who wish to learn more.
Peace, Judi

Jenn said...

@Karen thanks for those additional links! How cool to know that advanced studies in Green/eco are available past Environmental Science. Funny you should ask, my husband immediately looked into Unity after reading this post. Their requirements do not look too stringent but they only take a small number because it is so specialized & seem to be well over capacity with applications each semester. At UoW I would wager high enrollment due to the blend of eco/biz and the fact it is available for full credit online. I even considered looking into their program for that very reason!

@Mum you are so right! Its never too late to go for it!

Glad you both enjoyed the post :-)