The recent rise in unemployment has many people looking for a new job and in some cases, a new career. The growing green energy area is attracting many people entering the job market.
The Obama administration wants to create 5 million "green collar" jobs in the next decade. Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski has tied Oregon's economic future to the renewable energy industries, saying renewable energy is the "entrance to a new economy."
Oregon's community colleges have responded with courses to prepare for careers in green-tech & sustainable energy. You can find courses on solar installation, solar manufacturing, wave energy, sustainable forestry, public policy, and more.
If you are looking for solar classes, Oregon's colleges could be the affordable answer.
Central Oregon Community College in Bend has programs to train students in weatherization and solar photovoltaics. "The aim in the training is to match growth and need in local industry and take workers, in the short term, to match industry," said Kathy Walsh, vice president for instruction at COCC.
Portland Community College has developed industry partnerships with SolarWorld, Intel, SpectraWatt, Enxco, XsunX and Solaicx. PCC has added an associate's degree in renewable energy systems and a program for maintenance & manufacturing technicians in solar voltaic technology.
"Classes are almost full every term and prospective students keep calling the microelectronics technology department showing an interest in the field," said Dorina Cornea-Hasegan, the department chairwoman. The school is prepared for a flood of students enrolling in the renewable energy systems course this fall.
The renewable energy technology program at Columbia Gorge Community College in The Dalles has seen growth of wind farms on the rolling hills of the Columbia River Gorge. The school expects 500 to 600 technicians will be needed by 2011 to tend to the electronic and mechanical systems on the 400-foot-tall structures.
It is never to late to reinvent yourself.