West Hills Community College

JOB OPENING: Energy Industry Fundamentals Adjunct Instructor

The first Clean Energy job under our C6 program?  The instructor for the Energy Industry Fundamentals course!  

West Hills College, as part of a Department of Labor, Trade Adjustment AssistanceCommunity College and Career Training Grant Program known as “C6” will offer an introduction to the energy industry course on the Coalinga Campus.  As a partner, the Clean Energy Organization is assisting West Hills Coalinga in recruiting an instructor for the six week course. *IT IS NOT OKAY TO CONTACT THE CAMPUS REGARDING THIS POSITION*

Desired Qualifications:
  • Industry experience with energy—electrical and gas power, California utilities, generation or other applicable energy subset.
  • AA degree with six years industry experience
  • BA with some industry experience
  • MA with minimal industry experience
  • Engaging personality!
  • Qualified OSHA Train the Trainer

 Position Specifics:
  • Dates: February 19-March 15, 2013
  • 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Monday through Friday
  • $59-61 per hour (DOE)
  • Paid for classroom hours only
  • Hired as a "part time" instructor by West Hills College Coalinga (it is not okay to contact the campus)
  • No benefits
Please email ckalashian@pesc.com with interest and resume, or respond to our Craiglist posting at: http://fresno.craigslist.org/edu/3564700814.html

Clean Energy Jobs Workshop: A Review

On December 14, 2012 the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization (SJVCEO) hosted the “Clean Energy in the Valley: Where Are the Jobs?” workshop as part of the efforts for the Central California Community Colleges Committed to Change (C6). The SJVCEO is working with employers and West Hills College Coalinga to develop clean energy curriculum and how the Valley’s workforce is trained and prepared for employment. SJVCEO staff crafted this one-day workshop to serve as a true “work” shop in which attendees and organizers would collaborate to geographically determine where the jobs are now, where projects are planned, and what the actual employment opportunities are in the eight county region of the San Joaquin Valley. Data gathered would be used to jump start the project of populating an interactive geographic information system (GIS) based map that represents what, where and when clean energy jobs are available in the Valley, what training and certifications are needed at each site, and where training is available. In addition to the brainstorming breakout session, attendees were treated to three topical presentations. Guest speakers included Heather Croom and Dave Pastizzo of VESTRA to demonstrate the GIS map; Jim Anshutz of AG/H20 and the WET Center to discuss opportunities in the water/energy nexus; and Ryan Drobeck of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technology to shed light on the market and policies that impact clean energy jobs. 

The workshop was well attended by those in both industry and education. So how long was the actual list of jobs that was created? Unfortunately, the list is nonexistent. We found having a room full of employers was beneficial in addressing the general issues, however, there was a concern about sharing information in front of potential competitors.  And heck, we cant really blame them.  

SJVCEO staff quickly realized that the agenda would need an ASAP course correction!  

Instead of trying to pry project information out of reluctant participants staff focused on what can make a difference: collaboration. We needed to take a large step back and look at the bigger picture. 

Deanna Fernandez, SJVCEO’s project coordinator, diligently listened and took note as to where the workshop attendees felt she should go to start mapping out the jobs. The consensus was that many of the barriers to finding these opportunities often lie in the public policy infrastructure. It is believed that approximately 40% of the permitted projects actually come to fruition, but identifying which ones is like finding a needle in the haystack. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and a unified solution found. The US Department of Energy has funded the SunShot Solar Initiative to combat policy barrier issues in the solar field, but what about other issues like locating potential employment opportunities in an effort to prepare a qualified workforce? Can a clearinghouse be developed to inform decision makers of potential economic opportunities? Deanna intends to begin research on the job market by contacting database management firms as well as each of the eight county offices of the San Joaquin Valley to obtain input and guidance. Other resources that will be utilized are the Great Valley Center in Modesto and the various workforce investment boards. This is, of course, in addition to targeted industry leaders in the clean and renewable energy fields.

The SJVCEO prides itself on taking a holistic approach when it comes to clean energy in the Valley. Our air quality is unhealthy. Our population is desperate for work. Our workforce is under-trained  It seems obvious that the C6 project is where the focus needs to be if the San Joaquin Valley intends to stay competitive and economically stable.

The SJVCEO’s resident wellness expert and certified holistic health coach, Maureen Hoff, puts her personal passion for health at the heart of the issue: “Something has to be done. Maybe you are already a top-paid executive, swing a bit more to the right, or just don’t believe in global warming so the idea of clean energy jobs seems silly. One thing we can all agree on is the fact that our air quality, especially here in the San Joaquin Valley, is nothing short of horrendous and our health is suffering. How can we expect to live full and satisfying lives when the air we breathe is full of toxins and particulate matter that poisons our lungs and diminishes the healthy possibilities of outside activities? Our environment is a huge part of our overall health and wellness. If we don’t begin working collectively for a solution, ensuring the duplication of efforts is eliminated, we will continue to suffer.” Suffer we will. From poor air quality, high surface ozone, non-attainment fines and the economic suppression the Valley has suffered from over the past twenty-five plus years, the outlook is grim. With projected growth rates over the next 20 years significantly higher in the San Joaquin Valley than for other parts of California or the United States (Tadlock Cowan, 2005), these problems are not going away anytime soon.

Barriers aside, the SJVCEO is committed to a positive attitude and restructuring the workforce in the Valley through the C6 efforts. Educators, employers, job-seekers, and the entire community will soon reap the rewards of the collaborative efforts. As the heart of the state, the San Joaquin Valley will serve as the life force that pushes California to its goals and beyond.

For more information related to the SJVCEO or C6 please contact SJVCEO Director, Courtney Kalashian, at ckalashian@pesc.com or 877-748-0841. You can also visit the following websites: http://sjvcleanenergy.org/ and http://c6.whccd.edu/

Photo credit: Courtney Kalashian

Clean Energy in the San Joaquin Valley: where are the jobs?

This event has been postponed to December 14th. Same time, same place.  For more information contact Courtney Kalashian @ (877) 748-0841 or ckalashian@pesc.com

I may have mentioned in passing our project working with community colleges in the San Joaquin Valley--heck, even Huffington Post is talking about it--but I've not taken the time to really explain what we're doing and why we're doing it. Well, my apologies and please, allow me to tell you a bit about this thing we like to call "C6".

In May 2012 the SJVCEO began a partnership with the Central California Community Colleges Committed to Change (C6) consortium under a Department of Labor grant to redesign how community college students are trained to enter the clean energy workforce.  Our role is to convene educators with industry leaders to jointly design skills training based on real life needs. 

Our purpose is to serve as a convener of employers, industry experts and educators to look at Alternative/Clean Energy (ACE) education in a holistic manner. For the past six months we have been meeting with employers and asking what they want in their future employees.  We've meet with educators and asked what they're doing, and how they'd like to change it.  We have researched existing sources of curriculum, then taken it back to the employers and educators and asked how can we make this more applicable for students in Central California. 

But that wasn't enough. 

Maureen, Dee and I found ourselves asking, 'where are all these newly trained students going to go?' and we didn't have a concrete answer and with that a workshop was born! (PS--you're invited!)

Our one-day workshop will serve as a true “work” shop in which we will attempt to geographically determine where the jobs are now, where projects are planned, and what the actual employment opportunities are in our eight county region.  At the end of the day we want to have enough data to create an online, interactive GIS based map that represents what, where and when clean energy jobs are available in the San Joaquin Valley, what training and certifications are needed at each site, and where training is available. 

The ideal attendee for the event is a person familiar with the business plans of you organization or involved in planning and permitting for clean energy projects—where contracts will be, number of jobs, length of contract, training and certification needed.  We want to take a broad view  on clean energy: efficiency, solar, wind, water, biofuels, weatherization, green building, and more! Please mark your calendars and join us:

Thursday, November 15, 2012
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Small Business Development Center Regional Network in partnership with the US Small Business Administration
550 East Shaw Avenue, Suite 100
Fresno, CA  93710-7702

Please RSVP to ckalashian@pesc.com and please forward this to those you think would benefit from participating.

If you have questions or would like more information on this event please contact Courtney Kalashian, (877) 748-0841 or ckalashian@pesc.com.  

photo credit: SenatorMarkUdall via photopin cc

Want to make money? Enroll in Valley colleges' green training

"Out of work? Need money? Have I got a deal for you!"

That's how many of the pitches go. They arrive unbidden to cell phones and email addresses belonging to eager unemployed or underemployed people all over the country. Often the message is the best thing about the offer, which is usually some pyramid scheme or related dog of a deal.

There is something better. A whole lot better.

Clean and alternative energy may sound a little been there done that, but the sector is looking up. Way up. Projections show steady increases, and market indications point to substantial adoptions of policies in the private and public sectors that increase efficiencies, promote sustainability and bolster alternative energy projects.

Here's a sample of some entry-level wages:
  • Energy auditor - $42,000
  • HVAC installer - $41,600
  • Energy efficiency manager - $52,000
  • Retrofit specialist - $50,000
  • Construction project manager - $60,000
  • Building controls technician - $50,000

Employment isn't up to snuff yet, and companies focusing on energy efficiency, solar and other aspects of sustainability are just getting started here in the San Joaquin Valley. But soon companies will need trained workers who can immediately help them make money and expand their operations. This video by California Community Colleges Economic & Workforce Development gives an example of what  is out there.

The Central California Community Colleges Committed to Change, or C6, project has been established to meet the training needs of what is expected to be a robust sector in the San Joaquin Valley economy. It seeks to create accelerated educational training programs that produce qualified graduates for jobs in critical sectors that industry desperately wants to fill.

Members include Cerro Coso Community College, West Hills Community College District, Fresno City College, Madera Community College, Reedley College, Porterville Community College, Merced Community College, College of the Sequoias and Bakersfield Community College.

The colleges already have training programs in place that address much of the training needed. However, their intent is to make their programs better and increase job placement and retention of students.

Robert Pimentel, interim director of the C6 project, says the program has three components: agriculture, alternative energy and health care. He said the goal of the program is simple, create collaborative and common curriculum between member colleges and connect with industry so the programs propel graduates into the work force.

“We want to know where the jobs are,” he says. And “we want something meaningful for employers.”

C6 will attempt to align programs of participating colleges, mirror some of the curriculum with existing programs and compress training time lines. The goal is to cut the time it takes to get people through the programs while still providing them with accredited classes that can be used for further certifications and degrees.

Pimentel says while efforts have just begun to establish college-industry connections in alternative and clean energy, the C6 program has pulled off a successful effort with its health care component. “If it can be in health care, it can be done elsewhere,” he says.

West Hills College Leading The Way To A Green Path

Colleges and universities are quietly and quickly becoming leaders in the green-energy movement in California.

In Central California, for example, West Hills Community College District plans an ambitious solar farm that would provide all the power needs for its three campuses.

West Hills would become the second community college in California to be grid positive. The other is Butte College in Oroville, which will use 25,000 solar panels on roofs and ground to produce all its power. That project is expected to finish in May.

The West Hills array will cover 39 acres, according to the Sierra2thesea news blog. When finished, it should provide all the power needs for campuses in Coalinga, Lemoore and Mendota.

As this item on Top Colleges notes, California schools, including some in the San Joaquin Valley, are sunny side up when it comes to solar power. And University of California, Merced, is gaining cred for its research into solar energy.

It makes sense to use the sun's resources to cut energy costs during this time of restrictive budgets and cost cutting. The projects also provide the schools with research and training sites for students in green construction and energy programs.

At West Hills, for example, students were trained to work on a solar site near Mendota, and could fill jobs at the proposed solar farm. Learn by doing; it's the best way to educate.

(Photo of West Hills Community College by dadi.com.hk)