Preparing the Next Generation Workforce for Green Jobs: Santa Fe Community College Honored with the 2017 Climate Leadership Award
Washington DC, April 20, 2017 – The American Association of Community Colleges and ecoAmerica’s Solution Generation program are proud to announce that Santa Fe Community College has been selected as the 2017 Climate Leadership Award recipient for the community college sector, and will be awarded $10,000 to continue its sustainability initiatives, both on campus and within the community.
SFCC was recognized for its commitment to addressing climate change as an invaluable component of Santa Fe’s 25-year Sustainability Plan. The College established the SFCC Trades and Advanced Technology Center (TATC), a hub of cutting-edge technology that reduces the campus’ carbon footprint, as the core development and training resource to support these critical initiatives. The TATC is a LEED Platinum state-of-the-art-facility that includes clean energy systems, living laboratories, food and fuel production, water recycling, and energy-efficient lighting and design. The facility has two national "Centers of Excellence" designated in 2012 by the Department of Labor for Biofuels and Green Building and Energy Efficiency, and includes multiple laboratories. Today, students have the opportunity to learn hands-on skills related to algae cultivation, aquaponics, bioenergy, biofuels, energy efficiency, and more in a real-world environment.
The college also established sustainability programs in 19 high schools and has outreach efforts in place with local tribes and rural communities. Collectively, SFCC is making a positive impact on its community, students, and city. The city’s Sustainability Plan aims to position Santa Fe as carbon neutral by 2040 –and with SFCC’s innovative technologies poised to green jobs, and the college committed to preparing scholars for a future in sustainable development, the city is well on its way.
Recent budget cuts at the state level have reduced the college’s ability to network, communicate, and contribute to the national dialogue on sustainability. The $10,000 award will be used to send SFCC faculty, staff, and students to relevant conferences and professional development activities so they can continue to stay ahead of the curve and connected with like-minded colleagues.
SFCC President Grissom says, “It is an honor for Santa Fe Community College to be recognized by the American Association of Community Colleges and ecoAmerica as the 2017 AACC/Solution Generation’s Climate Leadership Award winner. SFCC promotes sustainable technologies as a driver of economic growth, new jobs, and as a way to reduce our carbon footprint. The college has partnered with private cutting-edge researchers and entrepreneurs who will give students internship opportunities. The college looks to the future as it works to establish a 50-acre energy center to achieve a carbon-neutral campus. Currently, the college is powered by 70 percent renewable energy and 100 percent onsite water reuse. Our goal is to reach 100 percent renewable energy and to have 60 percent fresh food and fish production for use on the campus.”
ecoAmerica’s President Bob Perkowitz says, “We are thrilled to recognize Santa Fe Community College, which is doing their part to train the workforce for clean energy jobs and ensure a more sustainable future for their campus and their community. It’s examples like these that we need to promote and support as a model for other higher education institutions and the sector writ large.”
“Community colleges continue to innovate and promote sustainability on their college campuses and in their communities” said Jennifer Worth, Senior Vice President, Workforce and Economic Development at American Association of Community Colleges. “Santa Fe Community College provides a great example of a long-term commitment to working with regional partners to educate students and the community on sustainable practices. I commend them for their work and offer my congratulations on this well-deserved award.”