SDSU offers Green classes

by Hannah Beausang

The San Diego State College of Extended Studies offers four unique online certificate programs to boost sustainability careers.

These certification programs will begin in the spring. The certificates available: green energy management, water management and landscape sustainability, green building construction and Greentech Enhanced.

SDSU Executive Director of New Initiatives and Outreach Wendy Evers, founded the program, said the certificates are highly beneficial for teaching applicable and valuable skills.

“The tagline is, ‘Education to career,’” Evers said. “We want to be skill-oriented—address theory, but also understand how to get into a career in the green energy field.”

Classes are taught by local industry experts. The nine-week courses have textual, audio and visual components. Most courses require students to complete a project, allowing for hands-on experience.

Evers consults a range of experts to formulate individual curriculums based on job descriptions and skills needed in the field.  Evers said the program is intended to enhance skill sets, mainly for people changing careers, entering or redefining their careers. There are no prerequisites for the courses.

Evers said she established the certificate program about six years ago, starting with the Green Building Construction program. She worked with an advisory board and local companies to develop relevant programs that would prepare students for real-world application. As the certificates gained popularity, the program started attracting attention globally.

“People everywhere from Dubai to Japan to Australia to Canada are taking our classes,” Evers said.

Evers explained that San Diego is a hub for the green industry, making it an ideal location for collaboration and education in sustainability. SDSU received a silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

The SDSU Enviro-Business Society is an on-campus organization that advocates  sustainability movements and established the SDSU bike lane,  founded GreenFest, reduced plastic water bottle use and added more recycling bins on campus. Vice President of the SDSU Enviro-Business Society Brian Wisman said that the certificates will benefit those interested in the green industry.

“I think this gives more options to those people who want a wider range of employment and really specifies a field for people to focus on,” Wisman said.

Kathleen Armstrong, who finished the Green Energy Management certificate program, holds the title of program coordinator for the Conservation Services Group.  She said the program provided her with the necessary skills, motivation and connections for jumpstarting her career.

“It has been a professional adventure,” Armstrong said. “It reinstalled my focus on my career towards  being able to communicate how important energy efficacy is and to become a working professional once again in the field with a lot more expertise than when I started. It opened up a whole new career path for me.”

According to McGraw-Hill Construction’s 2013 Dodge Construction Green Outlook report, the green building industry is expected  to reach between $204 billion and $248 billion by 2016. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2010 that the green industry makes up 3.1 million jobs in the U.S.