Supporting community colleges in educating for and building a green economy
AACC: American Association of Community Colleges
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AACC’s SEED Initiative Launches 2 New Industry Sectors

The AACC’s SEED Initiative officially invites you to explore our new curated collection of resources that can help educators develop and enhance quality green job training programs and courses in Sustainable Ag., Food & Land and Transportation & Fuels. The SEED Center is excited to bring you these resources that have been developed and vetted by Technical Advisory Groups (TAG) for both industries.

Sustainable Ag., Food & Land

The Sustainable Ag., Food & Land sector covers the areas of organic farming, horticulture, culinary arts, and landscaping. This sector includes organizations and resources that integrate environmental, social and economic factors into land use, food preparation, and land specific practices in an attempt to create a more sustainable future.

Transportation & Fuels

The Transportation & Fuels sector covers the area of electric and hybrid vehicle development and maintenance, other forms of alternative and sustainable transportation, natural gas, fuel cells, battery storage, and renewable fuels sources including ethanol, biodiesel, algae, and methane.

Sustainable Ag. Food & Land

Article: Growth in Sustainable Agriculture

Jason Niebler, Seattle Central Community College
Businesses related to sustainable agriculture, such as but not limited to community supported food production and sustainable culinary practices, continue to grow. Across the country, the enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit surrounding urban agriculture and local farms, and the incorporation of polycultural systems that include fruit and nut trees and native habitat for ecosystem services, are part of an emerging national trend in sustainability. Land use planners are integrating food production, green space, and environmental protection in their conceptual frameworks and designs. Landscapers, chefs, grocery stores, and other food system enterprises are embracing triple bottom line thinking in both existing businesses and new business development.

Communities are engaged on many levels, from promoting farmers markets and farm-to-school programs to connect adult and youth consumers to their food producers, to creating coalitions that advocate for farmland protection and sustainable local and national agricultural policies. These fields and more require an educated workforce, and opportunities for training in both two year and four year higher education institutions are increasing in spite of budget constraints. Helping colleges start innovative programs has been and continues to be an inspiring experience. I have also enjoyed sharing key resources, perspective, and related wikis with the AACC SEED Center as an open source of information for everyone who wants to participate in building the green economy.

Jason Niebler, MSc
Jason Niebler is the Founder of the Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAgE) Initiative in the Environmental Science Department at Seattle Central Community College

- View the SCCC Curriculum Wiki Page

Transportation & Fuels

Article: Champion of Change

Rich Cregar, Wake Technical Community College
Clean and efficient transportation technologies are revolutionizing the automotive service industry. This revolution has two primary vectors.
  1. The adoption of non petroleum fuels for internal combustion engines. These include the liquid fuels Ethanol & Biodiesel and the gaseous fuels Natural Gas (CNG) and Propane (LPG).
  2. The introduction of electric propulsion systems along with Battery, charging and control systems.
Technicians familiar with these technologies will be needed for maintenance and repair of these vehicles. Training these technicians is both a challenge and an opportunity for our Community College System.

Over a year ago the NC Community College System began a curriculum review process called the Code Green Super CIP which focused on bringing technical education in sustainable technologies into the curriculum of all five areas of Applied Technologies. Within transportation, my work has focused on course development. Working with our automotive Faculty and Industry Advisors we have created new courses and new areas of study for our students. These courses are available for both our Curriculum and Continuing Education Programs.

My task now is to provide the professional development that our instructors will require to deliver these new courses to our students. This is now my focus.

In recognition of this work I was recently honored by the White House as one of fifteen “Champions of Change” that are making a difference in moving our country and our state toward a more sustainable model for light duty transportation.

In my opinion only two institutions have the resources and manpower to train the next generation of technicians. One is the manufacturers own network of training centers. These centers will only provide Marque specific training limited to technicians that are employed by their franchised Dealers. The other is our Community College System which has the physical plant, the seats and the teaching skills needed to train technicians in the numbers that will be needed to meet customer expectations for quality maintenance and service.

I am happy to be part of this launch for the AACC's SEED Initiative's new sector of Transportation & Fuels, as it will prove extremely helpful for educators looking to enhance and develop their own training programs.

Rich Cregar
Instructor in Sustainable Transportation Technologies at Wake Technical Community College, Raleigh, NC

- CLICK HERE for the Sustainability Snapshot of WTCC and to View Cregar's Video

Article: Renewable Sustainable Future

Joanne M. Ivancic, Advanced Biofuels USA
A truly renewable sustainable future. That’s the promise of biofuels, advanced biofuels and other new technologies for creating liquid fuels for transportation, heat, power; and other bioproducts. Over the next 25-50 years the US and much of the rest of the world will transition to bio-based replacements for petroleum products. With 90% of our oil going to transportation, mobility will be a key focus; green chemistry principles will also apply to developing bio-based chemicals and plastics.

As advanced green fuels investment increases, employment will grow in research laboratories; agriculture production and processing; biorefinery operations; transport, distribution and delivery of raw feedstock, “green crude” and finished product; along with all the accounting, management and service jobs that support each link of this value chain. Because this is a new industry, entry level positions at research, pilot, demonstration and new commercial facilities provide “foot-in-the door” opportunities for career advancement.

Tomorrow’s fuels will power tomorrow’s engines, especially engines designed for the proposed new efficiency CAFÉ standards of 54.5 mpg. Matching optimal renewable fuel molecules and optimizing engine performance will generate new jobs.

For technical and entry-level jobs, employers look for skills related to lab techniques; plant operations; feedstock logistics; mechanics of industrial machinery and automotive/truck engines; fuel blending, transportation, delivery and storage; computer software design and maintenance; agronomy and agriculture farming; as well as legal, accounting, marketing and management knowledge tailored to this area.

Advanced Biofuels USA provides educational materials from “Biofuels Basics” teaching and self-study materials to links to scientific and engineering studies, and topical articles to encourage and facilitate sustainable progress in this emerging industry, and we are pleased to work with the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) SEED Initiative to unveil these new resources for their Transportation & Fuels sector.

Joanne M. Ivancic
, Executive Director, Advanced Biofuels USA, Frederick, MD

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This resource made possible with the generous support from the Kresge Foundation