Laney College was featured in this week’s Community College Week cover story—”Finding The Formula: Local Ties to Industry Driving Successful Green Programs.”
Strong academics are also at the heart of the new green energy program at Laney College in Oakland, Calif., said Peter Crabtree, dean of the college’s Career & Technical Division. In 2009, the college received a grant from a local foundation to start a one-year certificate program in Building Performance and Energy Efficiency. Both programs were developed with extensive industry input and include healthy doses of math, science, writing and physics, he said.
The idea is to equip students not only with the ability to get a job, but to have a career.
“There are some myths about the green energy field that you can grab someone off the street and put them in a six-week course, and they will be an installer,” Crabtree said. “That’s not the case.”
“It’s all about transformation for our students. It’s not only about getting a job,” Crabtree said. “Companies want students who have a passion for green to be aware of developments in the green energy field.”
“We have developed a course in customer service. It’s a lab format in which we teach interpersonal skills. It’s building transferable skills sets.”
The college has also taken extraordinary steps to help its students – who live primarily in an urban area marked by persistent poverty and crime – succeed in the programs. To reduce program attrition and improve student outcomes, the college has full-time case managers to help students facing various life challenges.
“That is very important,” Crabtree said. “There are some folks who have been out of work for a very long time. They need help. What we’re trying to do is overcome obstacles and move people forward.”
The program has proven to be very popular. It’s most recent class had 150 people competing for 25 slots.