Jobs for the Future Brings NASA Resources to Community College Green Curricula

11-16-2011 // PR Newswire

This excerpt is from The Sacramento Bee.

Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) are introducing NASA's cutting-edge contributions in climate change science to community college green sector curricula as part of a new project launched this month called Building a Diverse, Green Workforce. The project builds on The Greenforce Initiative, a partnership between JFF and NWF to improve green career pathways for underrepresented students and connect campus sustainability to hands-on training opportunities. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is also a partner in the new project.

Edgecombe Community College in North Carolina, Wayne County Community College in Detroit, and Wilbur Wright Community College in Chicago are all piloting the new curriculum in at least nine courses, engaging up to 180 students over two years.

"Despite the slow growth economy, employment opportunities continue to increase in many clean economy sectors and sustainability skills are becoming more important for economic competitiveness," said Maria Flynn, vice president at JFF. "Through this project, we will strengthen the skill sets that adults attain in their green career training programs while also supporting the development of workers who are knowledgeable about and prepared for well-paying STEM careers."

"Disseminating NASA data and tools through community college training programs will help us expand these resources to a broader audience, while helping to prepare students for employment or graduate study in technical fields related to climate change," said Dr. Lin Chambers, NASA project scientist. "By engaging underrepresented and underserved populations within these programs, the project will also cultivate greater diversity, a core value of all NASA education programs."

To promote greater access and success for students at different skill levels, Building a Diverse, Green Workforce focuses on credit coursework that leads to green job-related certificates and degrees; workforce training programs endorsed by green sector employers; and basic skills programs for students not yet ready for college credit-level work. The curriculum will be adapted from the National Wildlife Federation's Eco-Schools USA Climate Change Connections, which incorporates NASA mission satellite data with ground-based observations for use with high school students and teachers.

"Climate change, and the challenges it brings, will touch every corner of the American economy, and we must address it in kind at the career training level," said Kevin Coyle, vice president of Education Programs, National Wildlife Federation. "We are excited to help that process along by adapting our teaching tools using more technically advanced NASA learning opportunities and resources more appropriate for community college faculty and students."

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