Ritter announces college programs designed to feed New Energy economy

DENVER– Governor Bill Ritter announced at Red Rocks Community College Wednesday that 13 Colorado community colleges will offer a Green Advantage college certification. The programs are designed to prepare students to find work in the state’s burgeoning new-energy technology and construction fields.

Gov. Bill Ritter
Gov. Bill Ritter

The Green Advantage website states that the certificate “demonstrates knowledge of current green building principles, materials, and techniques.”

Todd Hartman told the Colorado Independent that “Red Rocks’ renewable energy technology program has grown to 1,700 students from about 900 a year ago.”

Ritter has invested much political capital in the New Energy Economy in Colorado. His Energy Office commissioned a study that supports his contention that investing in higher efficiency building and low carbon-producing energy generation will lead to whole new sectors of employment. The report estimates more than 600,000 jobs could be created over the next 20 years.

Ritter Wednesday announced that a guide to new-energy jobs has been posted at his office website. The guide includes general statistics on green industries in Colorado as well as a comprehensive list of job descriptions and the qualifications employers will be seeking.

“The cornerstone of the new-energy economy will be retrofitting energy-inefficient homes as well as constructing new energy-efficient buildings,” the jobs report declares. The report estimates that, by 2030, energy-efficient construction may account for 30 percent of the new-energy economy.

Positions Coloradans should be preparing to fill range from a $20,000 per year Insulatation Installer to a $138,000 Director of Wind Development. Other positions include Energy Conservation Representative, Field Consultant, Commercial Green Building and Retrofit Architect, PV Solar Cell Designer.

It has been a big week for the New Energy Economy in Colorado. Friday, the Laborers International Union of North America, conducted a demonstration of retrofit weatherization in Denver. During the demonstration union’s vice president Mano Frey said that in order to create “an American weatherization industry, we need both public and private investment.”

Speakers touted a Laborers Union educational program that will provide training and credentials for workers who wish to become weatherization installers, supervisors, and auditors. LiUNA hopes to train 50,000 workers in the next five years.

Gil Sperling, program manager for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program announced further support for weatherization retrofitting through a federal bloc grant.

“Next month we will release a solicitation where we are going to challenge whole communities in America to take our funds and leverage them… to retrofit whole communities.”

Citing job creation, energy savings, and the reduction of green house gas production, Sperling explained the reasoning for the administration’s focus on weatherization and the green job market.

“No one activity has contributed to so many viable goals as the weatherization and energy efficiency retrofits of homes, he said.”

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