Cuyamaca College has been selected to lead a regional program funded by a $350,000 state grant that will improve and expand the training provided to students in the booming clean energy field so that they will be better equipped to find good-paying jobs.
In addition to the initial funding from the Proposition 39 Clean Energy Workforce Training Program, the 13 participating colleges will receive portions of a $518,000 program improvement award to align energy efficiency and related programs within the regions, purchase or update equipment, offer industry-recognized certificates, and provide professional development for instructors.
College of the Desert in eastern Riverside County will also be spearheading the project for the inland region. The other participating colleges are: Palomar College; San Diego City College; MiraCosta College; Norco College in Riverside County; Riverside City College; Palo Verde College in Blythe; San Bernardino Valley College; Mt. San Jacinto College; Barstow Community College; Victor Valley College; and Imperial Valley College.
Studies show that jobs in the energy efficiency field have grown five times more than jobs overall in California, with a forecast of about 211,000 energy efficiency jobs in the state in 2020.
“Jobs in energy efficiency are in high demand, and it’s important for community colleges to provide the most up-to-date training for our students so they will have the skills they need for their careers,” said Wei Zhou, vice president of instruction at Cuyamaca College.
This project aligns with the goals of the California Community College’s “Doing What Matter for Jobs and the Economy” initiative to create training for careers that fulfill critical workforce needs and enable programs to offer students the ability to obtain the credentials they need for jobs.
The colleges in the program will be assessing the training they offer to determine what needs to be updated and improved, and will be working together to ensure that students are receiving similar training throughout the region. The colleges will also be collaborating with workforce investment boards, local utilities, building trade councils, and economic development agencies so that the training they offer matches business needs.
“It’s exciting to be leading a bi-regional project where we get to partner with so many progressive colleges and industry leaders on such a critical issue,” said Jonathan Kropp, grants director at Cuyamaca College, who will be managing the project. “California recognizes that energy efficiency is the most prevalent, cost-effective, and cleanest solution to the energy crisis and it’s great to know that the California Community College system continues to lead the solution.”