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EDUCATION: Community Colleges: A Vital Resource for Education in the Post-Carbon Era by Nancy Lee Wood

EDUCATION: Community Colleges: A Vital Resource for Education in the Post-Carbon Era by Nancy Lee Wood

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The key question is, "Where in our current educational system is it possible to develop an institutionalize the kinds of education needed to prepare people for work in the post-carbon economy-and to do so relatively quickly?"
The key question is, "Where in our current educational system is it possible to develop an institutionalize the kinds of education needed to prepare people for work in the post-carbon economy-and to do so relatively quickly?"

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Published by: Post Carbon Institute on Aug 30, 2011
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The Post Carbon Reader Series: Education
Community Colleges: A Vital Resourcefor Education in the Post-Carbon Era
By Nancy Lee Wood
 
About the Author
Nancy Lee Wood is a professor of sociology and direc-tor of the Institute for Sustainability and Post-CarbonEducation (ISPE) at Bristol Community College inFall River, Massachusetts. After winning her college’s prestigious Presidential Fellowship in 2007, she devel-oped ISPE and spearheaded a new course of study, theOrganic Agriculture Technician Certificate Program, which premiered in fall 2009. She lectures frequentlythroughout southeastern Massachusetts.Post Carbon Institute© 2010613 4th Street, Suite 208Santa Rosa, California 95404 USAThis publication is an excerpted chapter from
The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’sSustainability Crises
, Richard Heinberg and DanielLerch, eds. (Healdsburg, CA: Watershed Media, 2010).For other book excerpts, permission to reprint, and purchasing visit http://www.postcarbonreader.com.
 
CNT CLLEES: A VTAL RESRCE R ECATN N TE PST-CARBN ERA1 TE PST CARBN REAER SERES
The post-carbon era is going to require knowledge andskills that are not commonly acquired in most formaleducational settings today. There are numerous areasin which people will need to be educated, not only tomeet the needs of an energy-constrained future but todevelop their own useful livelihoods:
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Training in organic growing and permaculture
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Retrofitting old housing and building stock
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Refashioning metals for practical tools andmachinery
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Setting up and running local businesses
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Reindustrializing for small-scale local productionof needed goods
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Developing health-care delivery alternatives andestablishing local currenciesThe key question is, “Where in our current educationalsystem is it possible to develop and institutionalize thekinds of education needed to prepare people for workin the post-carbon economy—and to do so relativelyquickly?”Fortuitously, the Obama administration has recognizedthe role that community colleges can play in the near-term future. In July 2009, President Obama announcedthe American Graduation Initiative (AGI), a ten-year,$12 billion plan to invest in the 1,200 communitycolleges across the country. Focused on a declining industrial base and the need to reeducate the American workforce, AGI is intended to increase graduation ratesand prepare students for new employment in well-pay-ing, community-based jobs.
Why the ocus onCommunity Colleges?
There are currently 6.5 million students enrolled incommunity college credit programs throughout theUnited States, with another 5 million enrolled in non-credit options.
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These students account for nearly half of all students in college in the country today. The risein popularity of community colleges during the lasthalf century is due to several factors.From the individual’s perspective, there are severalreasons to look to the community college as an attrac-tive educational setting. Community colleges providestudents with the opportunity to acquire remedialinstruction, training for specific careers, and the foun-dations for continuing education at four-year institu-tions if they wish to work toward baccalaureate degrees.The community colleges’ open-door policies allow allstudents entry into a college experience. In addition,many community colleges offer attractive transfer packages to four-year institutions, including excellent
 
Where is it possible toinstitutionalize the kindsof education neededto prepare for thepost-carbon economy?

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