Supporting community colleges in educating for and building a green economy
AACC: American Association of Community Colleges
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Resource Center


The Resource Center organizes resources around 7 green economy “Sectors” and 7 “Topics.”

Search by sector or by topic, or across all sectors and/or all topics. Or search by keyword at the top right of this page.

Submit your curriculum and other resources to this database.



How are the Resources Organized?

What are the Criteria?

Resources that are included in the SEED Center have been reviewed by the TAG and meet the following criteria:

  • Accessible and available for colleges to model and/or customize to their local labor markets
  • Not to be used as a means to market individual consultants or their products to AACC members
  • Promote colleges becoming generally more innovative

Additionally, be sure to check out our
Green Programs and Course Listings!


The solar industry is expected to show steady growth over the coming decade largely due to rising energy prices, advances in technology through public/private partnerships and investments, and continued enactment of federal and state policies and financial incentives. more >>

- Also see
General Clean Tech for more helpful resources.


Wind power is considered a leading source of new electricity generation in the United States, with the potential of providing 20% of the nation’s energy needs by 2030. more >>

- Also see General Clean Tech for more helpful resources.

Green Building

The green building market has expanded five fold over the last three years to a $48 billion national market—and is projected to triple in the next five years. more >>

- Also see General Clean Tech for more helpful resources.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is considered the foundation of a vibrant and sustainable green economy, and one of the most cost effective ways to lower energy consumption, reduce operating costs, and mitigate carbon emissions. more >>

- Also see General Clean Tech for more helpful resources.

Sustainability Education

Sustainability education refers generally to learning experiences that enable students to develop the knowledge, behaviors and skills to help create healthier ecosystems, social systems, and economies. For the purposes of the SEED Center, this includes resources to help build non-credit continuing education for the incumbent workforce and integrating sustainability curriculum into existing credit programs. more >>

- Also see General Clean Tech for more helpful resources.

Sustainable Ag., Food & Land

The Sustainable Ag., Food & Land sector covers the areas of organic farming, horticulture, culinary art, and landscaping. This sector includes organizations and resources that integrate environmental, social and economic factors into land use, food preparation, and land specific practices in an attempt to create a more sustainable future. more >>

General Clean Tech

The General Clean Tech sector is a space for resources that encompass multiple ‘green’ sectors. Many are applicable to the broader clean economy and sustainability-related technology and will serve the general clean tech community. Resources also provide valuable information on sectors that are experiencing substantive development in the sustainability realm, like manufacturing and smart grid. more >>

Transportation and Fuels

The Transportation & Fuels sector covers the area of electric and hybrid vehicle development and maintenance, other forms of alternative and sustainable transportation, natural gas, fuel cells, battery storage, and renewable fuels sources including ethanol, biodiesel, algae, and methane. more >>

- Also see General Clean Tech for more helpful resources.

Certifications and Industry Credentials

Certainly, one of the biggest challenges facing green educators is the rapid and mostly uncoordinated emergence of green certifications and credentials. more >>

Curricular Materials

These resources and materials have been vetted by industry and education experts, and while not in the form of specific educator tools, will assist in creating quality curricula for your classroom. more >>

You will find more specific educator tools (e.g. syllabi, lab manuals, lesson plans, special classroom projects, equipment lists, etc.) submitted by SEED member colleges in our Curricular Materials Sharing Portal.

Employment Industry Projections

While job training providers have been quite active in past years working with local industry to define the emerging green jobs market and potential job growth areas, most still struggle to forecast accurately regional occupational demand. The U.S. Department of Labor has made recent strides toward classifying green occupations and competencies which will help communities define and track green jobs (and colleges to design appropriate education and training programs). Given the uncertain renewable energy and efficiency industry outlook, and rapidly changing technologies, access to the most up-to-date industry studies and employment projections will be critical. more >>

Innovative Practices & Partnerships

The job creation potential of the green economy has led to some unique job training and economic development partnerships and collaborations. more >>

Professional Development Resources

This section includes promising facilitated learning opportunities, including “train the trainer” programs, standing conferences, and informal learning opportunities situated in practice for faculty and staff seeking to further their knowledge of industry trends and requirements. more >>

Policy & Funding Sources

Included you will find links and descriptions of agencies and organizations that typically fund sustainability and green job training initiatives as well as those that provide important information on national legislation and policies relevant to the clean energy sector. CHECK BACK AS MORE ARE ADDED. This section also highlights resources that provide guidance on how to supply input into program and grant design for certain agency solicitations. more >>

Skill sets, Competencies & Career Pathways

This section includes lists and assessments of skill sets and competencies tied to the green economy – across the broad industry as well as within specific sectors. It also includes some critical resources that colleges can use to align programs and facilitate student transitions. Included are green energy competency models and newly-developed career pathways that allow movement across educational and training programs. more >>

Sector: Topic:

This project is upgrading curriculum in all community colleges in the state of North Carolina in five sectors: energy, transportation, engineering technology, environment and buidling.

- Read the Info Sheet on the Code Green Super Curriculum Improvement Project
- Read the August 16, 2012 Press Release: State Board Makes History with Approval of Curriculum Changes

The following is an article written for the SEED Center Newsletter, April, 2012.

Holly Weir
Environment Sector Project Director
NCCCS Code Green Curriculum Improvement Project Davidson County Community College
Office: 336.224.4832
Fax: 336.751.1459

Curriculum Improvement Projects, known as “CIP”s, are common in community colleges as methods to improve curriculum content. In 2010 the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents’ requested a two year Code Green Super CIP to integrate sustainability skills across the curriculum beginning with curricula and continuing education programs in the areas of energy, building, environment, transportation, and engineering technology. This request was based on the desire of colleges to jointly address this issue in a systematic manner that will result in uniform program improvements and a more streamlined program planning process.

The primary reason for undertaking a Code Green Super CIP is that North Carolina’s economy has changed to include a greater concentration of sustainability products, processes, practices, and technologies (good for the environment, business, and society). New and proposed changes in federal and state laws and policies have created a climate conducive to sustainability. The job growth would come from the application of new technologies as well as from supply chain work required to serve the new technologies.

The outcomes of the Code Green Super CIP will result in revitalized applied science programs and courses with specialized credentials in both continuing education and curriculum, continuing education to curriculum articulations, and students skilled in the sustainability technologies. This will also result in a more efficient curriculum inventory process that eliminates redundancy and proliferation of continuing education and curriculum programs.

As we come to the end of the project, a few key factors were vital to the success of the project. First, the forward-thinking of the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents in conjunction with the leadership from the North Carolina Community College System President, Vice President, and senior staff identified sustainability and curriculum improvement as a priority across the 58 community colleges in North Carolina. Second, the redesigned curriculum structure allowed for incorporation of emerging sustainable technologies into technical core classes shared by several curriculum programs. Lastly, the faculty-driven curriculum changes were supported by professional development funds updating current technical education faculty on emerging sustainable skill sets.
The aim of this report is to help community colleges across the country navigate a path forward through evolving terrain as they develop green energy education and training programs for low-income populations. In this paper, Workforce Strategy Center (WSC) examines how community colleges leading the field in green energy education are grappling with the issues of identifying green jobs and determining entry level skills. It makes the case that community colleges should be substantially involved in training low-income individuals, especially the low-skilled.
This report is a guide for local elected officials, county and city staff, energy utility managers, and community stakeholders to the steps that must be taken in designing and financing clean energy programs. This document describes how to develop, implement, and finance a clean energy program and offers examples of existing innovative clean energy financing models and useful resources to consult when developing a clean energy strategy.
This report examines the growing role of community colleges in a low-carbon, clean energy economy; and, provides examples of innovative strategies and practices used by community colleges to address climate change, environmental stewardship, and green workforce development. It offers information on the fastest growing sectors and jobs in the clean energy/green economy that provide strategic opportunities for community colleges and their students. Stimulates the dialogue on the role of community colleges in creating a sustainable future; and, presents useful websites and resources for further information.

The Pacific Northwest Regional Center of Excellence for Clean Energy (PNCECE) partnership (a DOE Smart Grid Project) aims to achieve three major objectives: 1) Deliver smart grid training for utility workers in a five state region of the Pacific Northwest. 2) Create an online smart grid training and information portal for educators/trainers, utilities, businesses, and consumers. 3) Share best practices on smart grid training using a regional approach. Read more on the Centralia College partnership.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) provided the U.S. Department of Energy with $4.5 billion to modernize the electric power grid and to implement Title XIII of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. This section provides descriptions and background information for each of the smart grid programs funded by the Recovery Act. More details on individual program providers can be found here. is the gateway to information on federal initiatives that support the development of the technologies, policies and projects transforming the electric power industry. View this website for for access to the Information Clearing House Educator Materials, Projects and Funding, and Edcucation & Training Locations.
This Network increases cooperation on climate and energy policy between Europe and the U.S. and provides a wealth of information on upcoming events focusing on all fields of sustainability. The networks Publications section provides insight and analysis from international and national experts in the field.
In building the solar workforce, is it better to educate and train solar specialists or integrate solar knowledge and add-on skills to existing curricula? That’s the question Andrew McMahan, Energy Sector Director at Central Carolina Community College, addressed, based on his experience as the North Carolina Community College System’s lead college for its Code Green Super Curriculum Improvement Project (CIP). In this webinar, Andy talked about the Code Green Super CIP, a North Carolina statewide initiative which has been developing improvements in curriculum and continuing education green programs in five sectors: energy, transportation, engineering technology, environment and building. The curricula integrates renewable energy training and workforce development into existing vocational programs at all 58 community colleges across North Carolina. Andy shared his experiences integrating renewable energy curricula into existing training programs
The Department of Energy and its collaborators held a live Webcast on "The Energy 101 Course Framework." The presentation, webcast and resources are available at this webpage. The Energy 101 framework is part of the Energy 101 initiative, a DOE-led effort to support the creation of a peer reviewed, multidisciplinary, undergraduate level, energy fundamentals course framework, and is the product of collaboration between the project partners and their discourse with energy education experts.
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This resource made possible with the generous support from the Kresge Foundation