Supporting community colleges in educating for and building a green economy
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Home­Action Community: Policy and Civic Engagement for Green Job Growth

Action Community: Policy and Civic Engagement for Green Job Growth

This Page is Organized in the Following Sections

Join the Community


Statement to our National Leaders

The Action Community to Grow Green Jobs supports a balanced approach by President Obama and the Congress to address the country's fiscal challenges. We call upon these national leaders to support education, businesses and workforce development which will benefit individuals and the economy as a whole. Additionally we call upon the federal government to create an energy plan for a clean and sustainable energy future.

Join the Community
(send an email to and put Join AACC Action Community in the subject line. We will include you on future notices of meetings, resources, opportunities.)

Why Participate

  • To grow green jobs in your region
  • To make your programs more successful
  • Get key information on national policy
  • Share strategies on how to get involved in policy on regional/state levels
  • Understand how this information can be used on campuses, with faculty, staff, students and the public
  • Get support and resources from your colleagues nationally
  • Be part of creating a greener society where your actions can make a difference on a large scale
  • The end result - more growth of green jobs and a greener society for all
  • Receive Strategy and Technical Assistance from AACC staff on how to build your local efforts in policy and civic engagement

Who Can Participate

This community is open to everyone working on or interested in growing green and/or sustainability jobs.

  In addition to joining the Action Community to receive notices of key information, you can also join the informal discussions in our SEED LinkedIn Group.

Creating Solutions

Policy is the quickest way to catalyze growth of sustainable green jobs. The growth of green jobs training programs at community colleges will be most successful with a robust placement rate into jobs. Yet, many present policies favor the use of power and products that are not green and hinder green job growth. Examples of the types of policies that restrict green job growth include subsidies, tax policies, and financing regulations. This community of action will provide information on how community colleges can help remove these barriers to green job growth and a greener society.

This community is an organized cohort of community colleges interested in energy and related green regulations and public policies at a regional, state, and national level. Public policies will center around the following focus areas: 1) policies that promote a stronger green economy with job creation potential; and 2) policies that lead directly to institutions becoming more energy efficient and green.

Through connections to policy experts and best practice and information sharing, this group aims to be more educated about and active in championing these policies (and engaging administrators, faculty, staff, and the community in the process).


  • Webinars and phone conferences (which may often include other national stakeholder groups)
  • Conferences and meetings
  • Ongoing policy alerts
  • Materials for your faculty, government relations, and the public.


ICLEI's 2013 Tools for Local Governments and Colleges Collaborating with Cities

Watch this ICLEI's webinar, "ICLEI's Vision to Support Resilient Cities and Counties" and read full details on the exciting software tools, resources, and leadership initiatives ICLEI will offer in 2013 to help local government members and their partners create safer, more prepared, and more resilient communities.
- Review the Tools Here

Responding to Economic Crisis: What can community colleges do?

A new paper by MDC describes how a particular ARRA project, Career Pathways for a Green South, helped a set of community colleges expand their capacity to better serve students facing multiple employment barriers. Drawing on their Career Pathways for a Green South experience, MDC’s How Community Colleges Can Respond to Economic Crisis details insights about how colleges can meet current and future workforce needs.
- Read More in the SEED Center's Resource Center

Carbon Taxes Make Ireland Even Greener

From this New York Times article, understand how a carbon tax could solve economic and environmental problems simultaneously, using the evidence from Ireland.

Webinar Recordings

Education and Civic Engagement for a Sustainable Future and Green Job Growth: Feb 19, 2013

Understand how to make civic engagement come alive on your campus and in your community while growing your sustainability programs.
- Webinar PowerPoint Slides (.pptx)

Practices on Getting Students into your Green Courses: Oct 25, 2012

Grow green jobs while also getting students.
- Play this Event Recording

Increasing Civic Engagement to Promote Policy Change and Grow Green Jobs: Oct 23, 2012

Updates on AACC’s Action Community: growing green jobs through policy and civic engagement. Hear the latest, get resources, discuss solutions to our shared and diverse challenges.
- Play or Download this Event Recording

Clean Energy Policy Call: May 9, 2012

A robust conversation about ways to create exponential growth of green jobs and specific practical possibilities. Joined by Ashok Gupta, national clean energy and green policy expert and a wonderful speaker on the high impact opportunities in this arena.
- View the Webinar/Call Recording Here
- Download the Presentation Slides Here

Conference Call: March 29, 2012

A conference call with Debra Rowe, Todd Cohen and all participants to assist everyone’s efforts in policy and civic engagement to grow green job placements. The call began with some key updates and strategies, and then opened up for discussion about specific needs to get mobilized locally. The information gathered will help better plan the appropriate technical assistance.
Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012 1:00PM (ET)

Listen to the Call:

Johnson County Community College Webinar: February 16, 2012

You can review the SEED and Johnson County Community College webinar held on February 16, 2012: Creating Successful Job Placements in Green Jobs - Key Strategies Using Policy and Civic Engagement.

High Impact Opportunities: Ways to Take Action Now to Help Grow Green Jobs

- See policy opportunities from the U.S. Green Building Council at
- Great resource on policies to grow green jobs.
- Review the SEED Policy Toolkit for lots of great resources and implementation ideas for your campus.

- Dr. Debra Rowe & Shawn M. Strange
- June, 2012

On May 9 the SEED Center held a robust clean energy policy discussion on ways to catalyze growth of green jobs. Joined by Ashok Gupta, national clean energy and policy expert from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), three key policy prescriptions were defined that will prove useful for community colleges taking action to increase job placements and course enrollments while also growing the green economy. These are: 1) helping clear the way for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), 2) getting energy labeling on residential and commercial buildings, and 3) utilities programming and regulation for streamlined efficiency and renewable energies implementation.

Remember, AACC staff is available to assist you with the use of any of these resources and with helping policy and civic engagement come alive on your campus. Email Debra Rowe at for more information.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE):

PACE is a local community and government initiative that allows property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for buildings that is repaid through an assessment on property taxes. Currently, 28 states and the District of Columbia have authorized PACE legislation and it continues to enjoy bipartisan support nationwide. Colleges can work with their governmental relations office, faculty, staff, students and the public to go to and follow the recommended action items.

Labeling and Information Transparency for Residential and Commercial Buildings:

Much like the national Energy Star system that looks at a building’s performance rating, labeling, benchmarking, and information transparency can create more awareness of energy use. Gupta discussed New York City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan which targets energy efficiency by requiring all buildings (commercial and residential) over 50,000 square feet to benchmark their energy usage and report this data on an annual basis for use by potential buyers and renters. Another example is New York’s Energy Efficiency Standards for State Facilities which requires that new state construction and substantial renovations should follow LEED guidelines.

Policy guidelines can be found in the Institute of Market Transformation’s (IMT) Commercial Energy Policy Toolkit as well as in their Commercial Energy Policy Webinar Series. Colleges can work with the campus relations office, faculty, staff, students and the public to inform and support policymakers to move in this direction at their local and regional levels.

Utilities Programming and Regulation:

Regional efforts are in place to alter utilities’ business models to allow for more implementation of energy efficiency and sustainable energies. (Utilities’ energy efficiency programs, decisions to build new power plants and pricing for energy are most often regulated by a small panel of people either elected or appointed by the governor in each state, most often called the Public Service Commission or Public Utility Commission.) New programs can increase efficiency and green energy in utility’s business plans and rate structures. Community colleges, faculty, students, and the public can discuss this option with utilities, the state’s energy office, state legislators, and public service commissions.


The above resources and policy actions will help in community colleges’ efforts to remove market barriers and create a cleaner and greener energy future while catalyzing the growth of green jobs. Feel free to let the SEED Center know what initiatives you are engaged in and how we can bring you more action steps in your efforts. Also, join our LinkedIn page to be part of our Community of Action for Green Jobs through Policy & Civic Engagement.

Policy Accomplishments and Event Resources

- September 13, 2012

August was a successful month for policies and initiatives for green job growth! Below are some of these accomplishments and events. You are in a unique and important position to help grow green jobs and to get students, the public and your governmental relations office engaged in growing green jobs. Please share this information with your networks. Also share with us what you are doing on your campus. You can also join our LinkedIn Community which continues to grow:

Article: Positive but Cautious News Surrounding Clean Energy Sector

- Shawn M. Strange, Program Manager, The SEED Center
- May, 2012

New research released by The Pew Charitable Trusts reveals that $48 billion was invested in clean energy technology the United States in 2011. This is a 42 percent increase over the previous year and puts the U.S. ahead of China as the leading country in green R&D. This is great news for the future of the industry. However, another new report, “Beyond Boom & Bust” warns that expiring clean energy policies and incentive programs could inhibit the sector from resulting in sustainable job growth. With jobs on the line, community colleges have a real opportunity to support green economic development efforts at their regional levels.

The “Beyond Boom & Bust”report details the results of disappearing subsidies, which actually elevated the recent investment numbers as developers rushed to finish projects before federal grant incentive programs expired. The clean tech industry received $44.3 billion in federal support in 2009 and that figure is projected to shrink to $11.1 billion by 2014 as other programs are set to expire (e.g. Production Tax Credit at the end of 2012).

As seen in both Massachusetts and Maryland, various green jobs sectors are thriving, and community colleges will continue to play a major role in their growth by remaining aware of industry trends, supporting regional policy efforts, and engaging with the right partners. For other important new information see the Bureau of Labor Statistics green career information portal as well as the information from their Green Jobs Initiative which details the number, industrial and geographic distribution of jobs. Also see SEED’s policy toolkit on Creating an Environment for Growing Green Jobs and join the Community of Action for Policy call on May 9th opened to all wanting to work toward developing policies to grow green jobs.

Feel free to contact Debra Rowe for more information or assistance:
This resource made possible with the generous support from the Kresge Foundation