Community Colleges: Green Degree Enrollment Up

Community colleges have waiting lists for "green" courses. (Photo:

Last month, the National Council for Workforce Education and the Academy for Education Development published a paper that examined the role community colleges will play in the new, green economy. The study, Going Green: The Vital Role of Community Colleges in Building a Sustainable Future and Green Workforce, highlighted several sustainable projects and programs in community colleges across the country.

Yesterday, an article by Terence Chea looked at the growing trend of unemployed workers seeking green job training at community colleges. “I think the opportunities in this field are going to be huge," said Rudy Gastelo, a part-time handyman who left the construction industry two years ago. "I'm not getting that 9-to-5 paycheck, so I'm looking forward to maybe getting a job within a solar company.” Source: Associated Press

The article, Unemployed seek training for ‘green collar’ jobs, pointed out a few specific enrollment examples. In the fall of 2008, Palm Beach Community College in Florida had 20 students in an alternative energy degree program. That number jumped to 150 in the spring of 2009 and is expected to reach 200 in the fall of 2009.

Central Carolina Community College in North Carolina can’t keep up with the demand for “green” classes and students have found themselves on waiting lists just to get in to one of these courses.

As the nation’s unemployment rate continues to creep up, community colleges may see their enrollment numbers surge as newly displaced workers try to get a piece of the green jobs pie.