Energized by the White House’s recent announcement of the America’s College Promise Proposal, over 600 community college presidents, administrators, instructors and partners assembled in Newport Beach, CA for the American Association of Community Colleges Workforce Development Institute at the end of January. The proposal, which would make community college tuition-free for certain students, was a hot topic, in addition to the impending Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and reauthorization of the Higher Education and Perkins Acts.
WIOA and national initiatives around closing the skills gap emphasize stakeholder engagement and industry partnerships, which was another pervasive theme of the conference. IREC’s Credentialing Program, which focuses on these same themes, was on hand and met over three days with numerous potential IREC credential applicants and workforce development partners at the IREC booth.
IREC CEO/President Jane Weissman presented Community Colleges Educating for and Building a Clean Energy Economy. Participants learned about the rising need for a skilled commercial energy efficiency workforce, and national trends that are driving demand for and highlighting the importance of quality, industry-driven credentials.
IREC friend Roger Ebbage, with Lane Community College, urged his colleagues to “be ready for the demand” for clean energy training. IREC couldn’t agree more and recognizes, along with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges Mark Mitsui, U.S. Department of Education, that “community colleges occupy a critical space in helping America continue our recovery from the recession.”