An ounce of preventative education is worth a pound of bail out cure when it comes to the creating a stable economy and green jobs.
While Obama's administration is searching for ways to turn the economy around and transform the market to more sustainable jobs, the LA Community College District is doing it. This is a district where 60% of the 226,000 students are female and the majority of them are minorities. (under bloggy disclosure, I work with Green Building Pageswhich LACCD uses to gain transparent, green building product information.)
Over $6 billion in bond money was raised in 2001, 2003 and 2008 to fund the construction of 50 new energy efficient buildings and retrofitting hundreds of older facilities.
It's estimated that LACCD will employ over 48,000 to make it all happen. (Detroit's lost is LA's gain)
Many of these facilities are already completed including parking lots "shaded" with solar panels - cars stay cool, while the wasted space above them now generates power.
The nine campuses are on track to be "off the grid" in 2009, by using a combination of solar, geo-thermal, wind and hydrogen. (good-bye to fossil fuel, carbon emissions and the expense)
The hydrogen created can be used as alternative power in hydrogen powered cars which give off the by-products of water and oxygen. When you turn new technologies into mainstream operations, i.e. hydrogen for cars, you can also TEACH how to service hydrogen cars.
When you have a campus running on free energy, you can keep tuition rates down. Rates are currently at $20 a credit hour and some graduates with a two-year associate's degree are earning $80,000 in their new green collar job.
Surrounded by green technology and products, you can't help but get swept up in the cool factor. What students learn/experience at LACCD, they will take with them on their first job. If a community college can do this with a little bond money and leadership, then anyone can do it.
Green Collar job education doesn't start and stop with technology, however, it's LACCD's goal to infuse every class including English and art with green, sustainable thinking; from the way the rooms are naturally lit, to the zen quality of outdoor spaces, to every surface and experience in the dining halls or bathrooms. Students will learn how to function well by using less, but using better technology. What's not to love?
Green fatigue tends to set in when you think that what you are doing doesn't matter. Watching LACCD succeed in co-creating a short term and long term market transformation while using their billions to push the construction tipping point across the nation, gives me tremendous hope. Now if we could just get the LA Times and the NY Times to cover all this positive information like they do sports and entertainment. Until that day, I'll depend on blogs for my continuing ed.
(this post is part of the Green Mom Carnival on "Prevention" hosted by Big Green Purse.)