To help pave the way for those with specialized manufacturing skills looking to add sustainability to their body of knowledge, The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is collaborating with Purdue University's Technical Assistance Program to develop the Green Manufacturing Specialist Certificate.

The Purdue TAP curriculum focuses on such topics as sustainable manufacturing, energy efficiency, water conservation, reuse and recycling, designing for the environment and how different pollutants affect the environment.

"There's a perception that green jobs will only be about those in renewable energy like the solar panel installer or the wind turbine technician, but there are also green manufacturing jobs to consider, Kris Nasiatka, manager, certification, at the Society of Manufacturing Engineers explained. "There's the existing manufacturing job in the aerospace industry where a worker with skills in composites can almost seamlessly transfer to making wind turbines. Then there are manufacturing jobs that would be enhanced by green knowledge. These types of jobs are ultimately good news for a former auto machinist, welder or fabricator with in-demand skills, but who may need additional training to meet requirements for green manufacturing jobs."

The program came together as part of a U.S. Department of Labor funded program in North Central Indiana. While there are other green programs available, Ethan Rogers, manager energy efficiency services, Purdue University TAP said "no other program offers validation that a student has a comprehensive understanding of the many topics that comprise sustainable manufacturing. This is valuable to potential employers and by extension to students."

This partnership includes SME developing an accompanying exam or outcome-based assessment, which will be tested by participants in the Purdue TAP green work force training program. Upon successful testing in Indiana, SME will offer the exam nationwide.

As far as interest and enrollment in the program, Rogers said it has already attracted a number of students and he expects enrollment to grow to "a couple hundred people sitting for SME's certificate exam" by as early as 2010.

For more information, visit www.mep.purdue.edu