Today, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), Inc., opened registration for the fifth national conference on workforce education in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Three plenary sessions, over 60 breakout presentations, and five pre-conference technical workshops will fuel participants with a breadth of facts, ideas, and best instructional models under way at community colleges, technical high schools, skill centers, trades and industry training centers across the country.
While the conference will focus on current instructional strategies and practices, it will also look forward at some new and thought-provoking next generation technologies and workforce needs.
“To prepare for the future, you have to learn from the past, and understand the present,” says IREC Executive Director Jane Weissman. “We’ve designed this year’s general sessions to provide this perspective.”
In the first plenary session, Wednesday, November 14, Alexis Madrigal, senior editor for The Atlantic and author of Powering the Dream – The History and Promise of Green Technology, willdiscuss green technological experimentation from the past and explain why these stories matter. He will trace the remarkable advances in green technology since his book, and look forward at a small number of key inflection points that could further entrench renewable energy in the U.S. and around the world.
The second morning plenary, Thursday, November 15, is certain to be a wake-up call, with Debra Rowe, Sarah White and Marcy Drummond’s realistic assessment of workforce challenges and strategies – what’s working, what’s not, gaps to close, and directions to take. Rowe is on the faculty for Sustainable Energies and Behavioral Sciences, Oakland Community College in Michigan. She is also President of the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development, and advisor for the Higher Education Association’s Sustainability Consortium. White is Senior Associate at the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, and a well-published leader on a more coherent green national workforce system. Drummond is Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness and Innovation, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, and a leader in developing competency models for a clean-energy vocational workforce.
Thursday afternoon’s conference closing general session looks ahead at nanotechnology innovations, with Alain Kaloyeros, CEO of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), The University at Albany-SUNY. The U/Albany CNSE is the first college in the world dedicated to education, research, development and deployment in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience and nanoeconomics.
Conference breakout sessions will cover topics on training models, clean energy job forecasts, green job myths, course development, hands-on training, career pathway models, online training, the smart grid workforce, and three innovative NYSERDA workforce development policies and programs.
New this year: seven 90-minute individual and panel discussions on significant tools and issues like policies and incentives, standards development, federal workforce guidelines, green career mapping, and the national solar training network.
A series of pre-conference technical workshops presented by well-known experts in their field will be offered prior to the start of the conference on November 13. This year, attendees will choose from half or full day workshops offering a deeper dive into topics like PV code updates, solar heating training program design, IREC’s credentialing process, lessons learned from a Zero Energy demonstration home with monitoring system, and energy management program tips and tools.
“For those offering or planning clean energy training programs for the renewable energy and energy efficiency markets, this conference is the one event that brings the latest information and best networking opportunities together,” says IREC’s Weissman.
The primary 2012 conference sponsor is The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). IREC is the conference organizer.
For more information about the conference, including a complete schedule of sessions and presenters, and to register, go to www.cewec.org.