If we’re going to expect new green construction projects in Buffalo, then we’re going to have to start concentrating on rolling out workforce development programs that focus on sustainability. As climate change becomes more and more of a problem, industry is going to have to pivot towards ecologically sound building trends. The workforce will have to adjust accordingly.
That’s why PUSH Buffalo and SUNY Erie (formerly Erie Community College) have announced a “first of its kind” Green Building certificate program set to launch on January 19, 2021. The program, which is now open for enrollment, will help to provide skilled employees for NYS development projects that are being spurred on by the State’s ambitious Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) of 2019. Ultimately, these efforts are part of an objective to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with an even further resolve to direct a minimum of 35% of the benefits of climate and clean energy spending in disadvantaged communities.
SUNY Erie will lead instruction and will provide students with additional administrative supports and job search assistance upon completion of the program.
In years to come, the construction sector will begin to shift towards sustainable building practices, including weatherization, solar, and clean heating and cooling.
“As clean heating systems are adopted and fossil fuels are phased out, we want to take advantage of those workforce opportunities to ensure that under- and unemployed residents of Erie County are connected to well-paying careers,” said Sarah Burger, Sustainability Planning Manager at PUSH Buffalo. “The SUNY Erie Green Building Technology Program will teach students about the many aspects of sustainable building while providing instruction in HVAC fundamentals, plumbing and electrical installation, skills needed to work on all types of buildings and homes. Our PUSH for Clean Heat Campaign is not only about the education and adoption of clean heat technology but making sure that those who are under- and unemployed are part of the much needed workforce to install these technologies.”
One of PUSH’s roles will be to help prospective students enroll in the program. Once students graduate, PUSH will work with the candidates to help them source jobs in WNY. At that time, the graduates will have learned a number of key facets that will make them desirable due to their up-to-date knowledge in advancements in renewable energy systems, energy management, and sustainable building techniques.
The Green Building certificate program is a 31-credit, two semester-long program that offers classroom and hands-on instruction in the building trades fundamentals.
SUNY Erie Community College will work hand-in-hand with PUSH to provide additional administrative supports and job search assistance.
“SUNY Erie Community College is excited to join with PUSH Buffalo to offer courses and training in Green Heating and Cooling Technology,” said Robert Stranz, Department Chair, HVAC Program, SUNY Erie. “PUSH clients will benefit in their ability to launch careers in a field that will sustain them and their families for years to come, while providing cleaner and safer communities in which to live. While completing the ECC Green Building Technology Certificate Program they will establish themselves in a discipline that will require continual commitment and encourage lifelong learning. For SUNY Erie and the Green Building Technology Program this partnership will be another step in our mission to meet the needs of a diverse student body and contribute to regional economic vitality by providing high-quality, flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs committed to student success.”
Financial assistance is available for eligible students. COVID-19 protocols, including remote instruction, will be in place to ensure a safe learning environment for all. Interested applicants should contact Bryana DiFonzo, 716-884-0356 (x232) or Rodney Rainey, 716-884-0356 (x220) at PUSH Buffalo, or go to www.pushforcleanheat.com. The enrollment deadline is January 11, 2021. Class sizes are limited, so interested candidates are encouraged to apply now.
Lead image: Photo by Henry & Co.