SBCC Lauded for Green Efforts

Landscape, Construction Training Promotes Environmental and Social Progress

Two recent green developments will benefit social and environmental causes at Santa Barbara City College. SBCC is celebrating the Green Campus Leadership Award it received at the Green California Community College Summit earlier this year, as well as the $378,860 it earned as its lion’s-share portion of a California Clean Energy Workforce Training Program grant.

SBCC Superintendent and President Dr. Andreea Serban continues to call attention to the Green Campus Leadership Award, which she called well-deserved recognition for all the work the college has done in the past years to go green, and for recent developments in sustainable practices. Serban emphasized that she and everyone involved at the college are proud and excited about the award, which recognized SBCC’s commitment to green leadership through its academic programs and campus facilities.

One such program is an 18-month curriculum that will train 150 Workforce Investment Act-eligible individuals in green technologies, in areas like landscaping and construction. SBCC received the $378,860 in October to continue and improve the program. “The grant has prescribed goals that SBCC needs to achieve - we’ll be adding dimension in sustainability to the already existing programs,” Serban said.

The purpose of the grant is to train underrepresented individuals who are financially, academically, or otherwise challenged and provide them with skills to use in the workforce. The landscape program focuses on hands-on experience in self-contained landscape design, installation, and maintenance, conserving water and energy, reducing erosion and pollution runoff. It also will teach students how conservative gardens can produce food, fiber, or other useful products.

Serban said the program has potential to directly benefit Santa Barbara and surrounding areas.

Most likely these students will continue to live here since they live here already,” said Serban. “By acquiring sustainability skills, it will be easier to find jobs in the area that are in demand - the program is certainly well positioned in terms of various partnerships in the community.” Some of those partners include the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 639, the Building and Trades Council of Santa Barbara, and the Santa Barbara Contractors Association.

Another partner is the Santa Barbara County Youth Corps, which serves at-risk and out-of-school youngsters. Its value was emphasized by SBCC Environmental Horticulture Department Chair Dr. Michael Gonella. “By working with the county’s Youth Corps, our program serves as the first step toward getting these individuals back on track in the career world-it’s meant to give them direction in life and some confidence. We’re investing in people.”

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