“There is now broad consensus among employers, policymakers, educators, and the general public that we must collectively work to conserve resources and protect the biodiversity of our global environment. This cultural shift, which demands environmental stewardship along with economic growth, is changing how private sector employers pursue the development of products and delivery of services. The changes taking place across industries in recognition of our collective environmental challenge have created a growing clean economy—one that relies on new processes and materials and requires workers with enhanced or new sets of skills to develop environmentally beneficial goods and services. This report, a ‘greenprint,’ illustrates effective programs being implemented in community colleges across the country to create college graduates with the sustainability skills needed for the new clean economy. It also outlines recommendations that will lead to the scaling of these programs as the clean economy continues to expand” (p. xiii).
“Community colleges are on the frontlines of sustainability skills education for the clean economy workforce. Nearly 40 percent of the nation’s 1,200 community colleges have instituted sustainability skills educational initiatives at various levels.
…. By integrating sustainability skills into the curricula for a host of programs of study, colleges are contributing to their students’ future success, responding to the needs of local employers, supporting regional environmental health, and providing benefits for students and local economies.
Building on Effective Practices
Based on the successful experiences of leading community colleges in sustainability skills education, there are commonalities between strong career and technical education programs that incorporate sustainability skills. These include:
- Use of labor market information to align programs and career pathways with demand.
- Strong partnerships with clean economy employers in program design and implementation.
- Collaboration with community and labor partners to expand programs and services.
- Increased communications around effective educational approaches.
- Professional development and capacity-building opportunities at multiple levels (state, regional, and local).
- Use of data analytics to support continuous program improvement “(p. xiv).