Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

May a Greener Future Begin in a Greener Classroom?

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

May a Greener Future Begin in a Greener Classroom?

Article excerpt

The following is reprinted from NLC's blog, citiesspeak.org/. Visit the blog for a variety of posts and also check out NLC on facebook and Twitter.

A number of speakers at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs national conference this week in Washington, D.C. raised concerns that inadequate academic preparation in basic math, science, and reading skills are presenting major barriers in preparing workers for jobs in a clean energy economy.

Given the subject of the conference, a significant focus on jobs, energy, and economic growth was to be expected. But a specific and reoccurring focus on education (not just training) felt particularly significant as this too-often overlooked element represents a critical component to the entire jobs, development, and recovery (green or otherwise) equation.

Dean Alien, chief executive of innovative construction giant McKinstry, lamented that increasingly his company has had to turn away young motivated workers due to poor performance in math and science entrance exams. Representatives from several community colleges also reiterated the complexity of challenges they are facing in training workers with limited education for careers in next generation technologies.

Highlighting the interconnections among education, job creation, national competitiveness, and energy, Allen proposed a linking strategy: green schools.

Consider the statistics: Over half of U.S. schools today are at least 50 years old, and we know that buildings (not limited to schools) consume over 70 percent of electricity in the country. …

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