President Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan includes more than $60 billion earmarked for clean energy investments. Any plan to create green jobs will require additional training for the existing workforce and displaced workers.
Colleges, businesses and associations have stepped up their efforts to create new programs aimed at developing the skills needed for green manufacturing jobs. One of the latest efforts is a collaboration between the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and Purdue University's Technical Assistance Program.
Beginning in early 2010, SME and Purdue plan to offer a green manufacturing specialist certificate, says Kelly Lacroix, an SME project specialist. Purdue has been offering a beginning-level green generalist workshop and a more advanced green specialist certificate at various locations throughout Indiana.
The green generalist workshops focus on green concepts and key environmental issues manufacturers face. Once attendees complete the green generalist level, they can advance to the specialist certificate series, which features modules that include waste management, business cases for sustainability, water conservation, emissions reductions and green chemistry. Attendees who complete all modules will be eligible to take the green specialist exam, which is under development.
"The exam will be able to easily adapt to any green curriculum anywhere in the country," says Kris Nasiatka, manager of certification, books and video at SME. "And once students pass it, they'll walk away with a certificate of completion of in-demand, green job skills. We believe that this will be encouraging news for manufacturing job seekers looking to enhance their skills or make new career moves."
SME expects enrollment for the certificate exam to reach "a couple hundred people" by as early as 2010, according to Ethan Rogers, manager of energy-efficiency services at Purdue's Technical Assistance Program. After measuring the program's success in Indiana, SME plans to offer the exam nationwide.
In the long run, SME and Purdue plan to develop a green champion track and eventually a full-fledged green certification program.
For more information about the Green Manufacturing Specialist Certificate, visit Purdue University's Manufacturing Extension Partnership at www.mep.purdue.edu/prod_services/green/default.aspx