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Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges: Plenty of Energy Behind Sustainability Efforts

Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges are making great strides and providing leadership in sustainable practices, facilities and programs. The colleges are offering more programs in renewable energy and energy efficiency career fields. They are also infusing sustainability into many traditional occupational programs. In addition, the colleges practice what they teach by using energy-efficient and sustainable practices in their day-to-day operations.

"Our colleges are taking the lead in this new economy by infusing more sustainable practices into everyday operations and into a growing number of existing career programs. Businesses moving in this new direction are in need of employees with innovative ideas and skills to accomplish sustainability goals and our colleges are proactively meeting this need."

Dan Clancy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System
Students in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) are gaining sustainable skills that will create a green future for the state. Businesses and industries moving in this direction require employees with innovative ideas and the skills to accomplish sustainable goals.

Princeton Review’s ‘College Hopes and Worries Survey’ revealed that today’s college students are interested in sustainability issues and sometimes make their college decision based on the school’s commitment to the environment. While the WTCS is leading the way in sustainability, the college presidents felt that this message was not getting out to potential students or employers. The presidents established a Green Initiatives Committee and collaborated with the WTCS Statewide Marketing Consortium (SMC) to create a communication campaign to address the communication needs.

SMC staff drew up a plan including a variety of communication tools and strategies to reach the target audiences of: economic development leaders, community leaders, business decision makers, leaders in the sustainability movement, legislators, state agencies, the news media, the public and, most importantly, potential students.

The first step was to identify experts in sustainability among WTCS instructors, administrators, graduates and other staff, and to enlist their help. An outside contractor was hired to travel around the state to interview the experts for a series of videos on sustainability programs and practices in the colleges. An electronic fact sheet was established along with a Facebook page, “Wisconsin’s Green Future” to share what’s happening in sustainability practices throughout the state. Finally, a section of the WTCS central website provides access to all the sustainability tools and resources for the target audiences.

Demand for the information is there. In the first few weeks of existence of the sustainability section of the website has become the fifth most popular area of the website, right behind the home page, career exploration, applying for college and news. The bounce rate (rate at which visitors leave immediately) is a low 38 percent, which means the content is compelling and engaging for visitors.

- Read More on how Wisconsin's Technical Colleges are Leading in Sustainability

For More Information:

Kyle Schwarm
Executive Director, Statewide Marketing
Wisconsin's Technical Colleges

Written By:
Susan Pohorski
Public Relations Specialist
This resource made possible with the generous support from the Kresge Foundation