The jobs are coming, or at least that's what studies appear to show. And I've got my fingers crossed.
We worked with a number of groups on the Valley Legacy Grant project to develop a series of programs meant to steer the region's residents toward high-growth sectors of industry. Four teams established by the grant worked to bring those programs into high school, college and adult education classrooms across the Valley's eight counties.
The effort, supported by a grant from Workforce Investment Act, has been challenging but a success, providing a model that can be built and expanded upon in subsequent years.
Clean energy for educators
I'm writing this post in part to shine some attention on the website we created as part of this project, www.wiasjvceo.com, and share it with teachers. My wife's an English teacher who tells me all the time how she appreciates good lesson plan ideas.
And that's what this has. Ideas. Lots of them. And they're all about clean energy, the environment, green work place trends and even climate change.
We at the SJVCEO, headed up the Green Economy & Workforce Team on this grant. The effort combined the talents of San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, West Hills Community College District, the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, The Maddy Institute and the International Center for Water Technology. SJVCEO served as team leader.
The clean energy industry promises to be one of the more robust growth engines of the next decade and could prove pivotal to California's San Joaquin Valley, and this project set groundwork between the business community and education.
Nurturing the next generation
The connections begun by the Valley Legacy Grant are expected to continue and could, with some nurturing, bear significant fruit in years to come. Not only can the region’s young people transition into jobs and positions of influence, but the Valley itself could emerge as a leader in research and green energy generation.
A recent study by the Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs Network says that in California, in addition to having the most green jobs in the country, those jobs, totaling 178,500 positions, are likely to more than double to 433,000 by 2040.
And a list we stumbled across lists more than 90 solar projects in our region that appear to have few regulatory hurdles ahead of them. They cover a projected 64,000 acres. Big stuff that undoubtedly leave a big economic footprint.
Our mission: Position the region to better take advantage of that trend by assisting educators to teach their students about it.
Clean energy outreach
Our team developed a list of classroom friendly experts specializing in clean energy, compiled a comprehensive list of private and higher education green energy-related training programs and collected thousands of pages of reports, studies and white papers. All of it is provided to students, teachers and job seekers electronically.
Our team also has collected a vast arsenal of green energy-related curriculum that can be used or sampled by teachers. This information can be found at www.wiasjvceo.
Staff of the SJVCEO continues to update the site with new reports and the latest cleantech information. We'd like to see it shared far and wide. One of my thoughts is that teachers who create clean energy related lesson plans can share them on the site. Others who modify them could likewise share their work.
Keeping it going
The idea is to continue and grow the website long after the sunset date of the grant and help students realize the extent of the opportunities in the clean energy sector. After all, one of them may provide the next big breakthrough that helps clean our air and provides cheap energy and economic development.
The model we created could be replicated in any region on any scale. The effort does require volunteer labor from those in industry and likely that of members. But with very little time, a web presence can be established and outreach made. The material collected on our site could be used and our formats copied.