Jobs for the Future, National Wildlife Federation, Bank of America, and education leaders all across North America released Greenprint: A Plan to Prepare Community College Students for Careers in the Clean Economy. This plan comes at a critical time as 190 heads of state return from Paris-21 where they addressed the need to eliminate greenhouse gas pollution. These leaders will challenge all nations to develop a workforce skilled in sustainability. This new report begins to address the challenge of linking environmental quality and workforce development and highlights how:
- Competitive employers require a workforce with 21st-century skills and sustainability basics. Workers need to be equipped with the new skills required for millions of new jobs that are eclipsing their older, fossil-fuel-based counterparts and providing comparatively better wages for adults across all demographics, including lower-skilled adults.
- America’s workforce needs to have the skill sets to curtail carbon pollution. This will require rapidly scaling up innovations in dozens of industries such as clean energy generation, distribution and storage; smarter grids; smarter transportation systems; more sustainable food and agriculture; improved forest management; restored coastal ecosystems; and closed loop manufacturing.
- Community colleges are uniquely positioned to help develop these skills in America’s workforce. In the U.S., the majority of jobs requiring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will require education beyond high school, including that provided by the nation’s 1,200 community colleges. And for millions of adults, community colleges will provide the pathways into STEM jobs. The imperative for community colleges to prepare graduates with sustainability skills will only increase as these STEM fields become greener.
Highlights of the Greenprint plan include:
- A call to key stakeholder groups such as government and the private sector to work with education institutions to increase programs and employment opportunities for a workforce with sustainability skills.
- A review of federal and state policy vehicles that can provide clearer and more direct support of sustainability skills and knowledge.
- The marrying of sustainability education programs with STEM education.
- How student organizations can play a role in supporting the nation’s transition to a greener workforce.
The Greenprint plan was created by thought leaders representing industry associations, student groups, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and higher education entities in the U.S. and Canada who participated in a national and statewide convening as part of the Greenforce Initiative, organized by the National Wildlife Federation and Jobs for the Future with support from Bank of America Charitable Foundation, NASA, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The Kendeda Fund, and other donors.
Community colleges and employers are encouraged to discuss this new plan with #highered and #sustainability.