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LMC’s Green Construction Academy Receives Greenforce Initiative Grant

December 14, 2011

BENTON TOWNSHIP, MI – The Green Construction Academy at Lake Michigan College has been recognized as a recipient of a Greenforce Initiative Innovation Mini Grant in the amount of $3,000 to be used to conduct a feasibility study on rehabilitating steel shipping containers using green construction in creative ways. A “how to guide” will be developed and shared with other community colleges to incorporate rehabbing shipping containers into their curriculum.

The grant has provided the College, along with a community-based task force, the opportunity to explore creative ways to re-use shipping containers. Shipping containers have an approximate 10-year life to serve their original purpose, then can be re-purposed to create homes, offices, and other structures all while reducing the carbon footprint.

Lake Michigan College director of workforce development Ken Flowers stated, “Research is being done to analyze the feasibility of incorporating rehabilitation of shipping containers into green construction education and training programs.”

Students will learn marketable skills such as welding, plumbing, drafting, construction, electrical, solar thermal, and HVAC as they re-purpose the shipping container.

The “how to guide” being developed will assist other colleges in their quest to address the need for training workers with green construction skill sets. In addition, the guide will include sections on green materials needed for constructions, site selection issues, handling building codes, building permit procedures, costs, and curriculum outlines.

Flowers said National Wildlife Federation and Jobs for the Future first joined forces on the two-year project in 2010 to spur innovation in the role of community colleges in the coming green-jobs revolution.

Supported by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and CS Mott Foundation, The Greenforce Initiative is strengthening green career pathways leading to postsecondary credentials and family sustaining careers, increasing access and success for lower-skilled adults, and using campus “greening” or sustainability efforts as “learning laboratories” for education and training.

Community colleges are increasingly called upon to both prepare graduates with the 21st century skills needed in a greener economy while also protecting community health and sustainability. "Post-secondary credentials are increasingly required for careers that pay family-sustaining wages," said Gloria Mwase, program director at Jobs for the Future. "While the labor demand in key ‘green’ sectors offer job growth opportunities in many communities, it is critical that we ensure that under-prepared adults can access and succeed in these careers."

The feasibility study will be complete in May 2012, then funding will be sought to take it to the next level. For more information please contact Ken Flowers at (269) 927-8100 ext. 3032 or flowers@lakemichigancollege.edu.

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