Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed legislation Tuesday morning that will require Connecticut public colleges, universities, community-technical colleges and vocational-technical high schools to standardize their “green technology” curriculums.
The Green Technology Education bill will compel state higher education institutions to publicize their green jobs training and standardize their course descriptions.
The state Departments of Education and Higher Education must also develop lists of available programs and courses across the state related to green technology, and they must assess the need for additional training programs.
“All across Connecticut, our colleges and universities are working to prepare more and more students for careers in green collar jobs,” Rell said during a ceremony in the library of Tunxis Community College in Farmington. “The green collar label is more than business- or marketing-speak. It is a natural – and necessary – response to the changing world in which we live.”
The legislation will take effect on October 1. It follows the creation of the Green Collar Jobs Council in February 2009, composed of state agencies, education officials and business leaders. The council works to identify available “green collar jobs” and training.
Rell also said the bill will ensure that federal stimulus money allotted for green technology initiatives is spent correctly.
“When you get $64 million dollars for weatherization projects, you want to make sure the money is well spent,” she said. “That was a real key for us in making sure that we were doing the right things in training for this kind of technology.”
Tunxis Community College President Cathryn L. Addy said, “We look forward to great things – green things – in the future.”
Christopher Phelps, the program director for Environment Connecticut, says the bill is a step in the right direction but will be hindered by Rell’s recent veto of the Energy Reform Bill.
“The good news is Connecticut’s education institutions will be better focused on facilitating and participating in this growth,” he said. “The bad news is that Governor Rell vetoed the bill that would have stimulated that growth in Connecticut. These students might be educated for jobs that won’t be happening here.”
He said the most immediate action the legislature could take would be to consider an override of Rell’s veto.
Rell said the Energy Reform Bill had its good points and bad points, but that “the bill was hastily put together. I think that the promises made in that bill were not achievable based on what we read.”
She encourages the legislature to spend the summer months reconsidering an energy reform bill that “everyone can agree on.”