Category: NCBR

Northern Colorado Business Report

Back to School for Green Jobs

Back to School for Green Jobs

Colorado, with all its sun and wind and geothermal hot springs, has gotten particularly excited about the creation of green jobs. The state expects to have 600,000 new jobs relating to renewable energy technology and energy efficiency development over the next 20 years. Sounds great, but a major component to the sustainable future becoming a reality is the emergence of a capable workforce.

The sun shines on solar-panel installers (image via Swords to Ploughshares)

In northern Colorado, community colleges and major universities are reaching out to potential students and tailoring programs to train for a range of green jobs, from smart-grid engineers to hybrid-vehicle manufacturing to solar-panel installation and maintenance. In the April 9, 2010 issue of the Northern Colorado Business Report, my column, “School’s in session for green job seekers,” covers the cresting wave of new programs, including an initiative at Colorado State University meant to attract returning military veterans to green jobs.

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Decon Recon

Decon Recon

Deconstruction project in Buffalo, New York.
Deconstruction project in Buffalo, New York.

My first column for the Northern Colorado Business Report looks at how the National Center for Craftsmanship, based in Fort Collins, is enabling builders to disassemble structures and recycle materials instead of just demolishing them and dumping the refuse at landfills. For the story, I spoke with Neil Kaufman, the center’s director.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Kaufman proudly boasts that the center runs “the most rigorous deconstruction program in the country.” It even caught the attention of the producers of “Renovation Nation,” a program on Planet Green, a Discovery Channel cable network. A film crew spent a day this past March shooting center-trained crews of students and contract workers deconstructing farm buildings on the Andrejeski property on Overland Trail in north Fort Collins. The city now owns the land and plans to protect it as open space. The coverage will be part of an episode filmed around Colorado, scheduled to air sometime this summer.

Kaufman says deconstruction taps into environmental, educational and economic sustainability (can you say “green jobs”?), but the economic advantages have always been the most tricky to cultivate.

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