CSU Sustaining the Green Workforce
March 13, 2012
By Stephanie Thara
As California takes strides toward reducing its carbon footprint, jobs in the green sector are rapidly increasing. From 1995 to 2008, core green economy employment in California grew 36 percent. This is almost triple California’s total employment growth over the same period, only 13 percent.
The CSU is helping shape sustainability experts that will serve as leaders in the green workforce by offering classes that integrate the concepts of environmental protection, social equity and economic viability. Most programs contain a sustainability focus; for example, departments from art to chemistry and engineering to women’s studies all offer courses that include sustainability.
Varying at each campus, students can earn degrees or certificates in solar power installation, green building, environmental sciences, sustainability, ecological conservation and environmental studies. In fact, San José State University has one of the oldest environmental studies departments in the nation. It was one of six established directly as a result of the first Earth Day, which was organized by SJSU alumnus Gaylord Nelson in 1970.
Additionally, campuses partner with local organizations to provide citizens with the training they need to succeed in green collar jobs. The South Bay Workforce Investment Board has tapped the expertise of Cal State Dominguez Hills’ faculty to help train individuals in its Gateway to Green Jobs Program. The program helps prepare new and unemployed workers for entrance into apprenticeship programs and employment in green building occupations and careers.
With emerging occupations in green building, solar power, organic farming, green engineering and clean energy, the CSU has made it a priority to train up-and-coming sustainability professionals. CSU students armed with green knowledge will help steer California toward a greener future as urban planners, arborists, energy engineers, wind turbine machinists, hydrogen plant operators and energy auditors.