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CNM Grows Green Programs at WTC

Sustainability has taken root in the "High Bay" at the CNM Workforce Training Center – the building with the rounded green roof and blue neon light that's visible from I-25 just north of the Alameda exit. As part of an initiative to create a Center of Excellence for Green Technology, the School of Applied Technologies (AT) and the Workforce Training Center (WTC) are collaborating to deliver a broad spectrum of education in alternative energy.

Sep 07, 2016

February 2011

Sustainability has taken root in the "High Bay" at the CNM Workforce Training Center – the building with the rounded green roof and blue neon light that's visible from I-25 just north of the Alameda exit. As part of an initiative to create a Center of Excellence for Green Technology, the School of Applied Technologies (AT) and the Workforce Training Center (WTC) are collaborating to deliver a broad spectrum of education in alternative energy.

The 6,000 square foot high bay facility provides ideal lab space for courses in photovoltaic (solar electric), solar thermal and weatherization technology as well as energy efficiency measures.

CNM has been working for several years to build its green/sustainable/renewable energy programs. Efforts have included faculty professional development; curriculum updates and new course development in partnership with industry; and acquisition of updated lab equipment. AT has invested program funds, leveraged by support from the federal Perkins and WIRED grants, to acquire new photovoltaic and solar thermal equipment for the training setup at the WTC.

Additional grant money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) permitted four CNM instructors to receive special training at Salt Lake Community College, the designated Rocky Mountain Regional Provider of Solar Instructor Training. Electrical trades instructors Sam Lovelette and Ernie Arko received online and onsite training in photovoltaics. Plumbing instructors Sal Benevegna and Jerry Knuckles gained added expertise in solar heating and cooling (SHC) technology.

Up until now, AT has been offering sustainability curriculum through Special Topics elective courses such as:

  • Photovoltaic Installation (Electrical Trades)
  • Solar Thermal Panels (Plumbing)
  • Intro to Green Building (Construction Technology)
  • Alternative Fuels (Automotive Technology).

Starting in fall 2011, the school is adding such courses to the required curriculum in some of its certificate and degree programs, while embedding additional green curriculum (i.e. small wind turbines, energy efficiency) into other courses. This ongoing effort will transform student learning to match the needs of the evolving economy.

On the noncredit side of the sustainable surge, the WTC has developed and conducted an impressive array of community education workshops and contract training programs in green technology and practices. These offerings include a modular photovoltaic training series, plus weatherization and energy efficiency/energy audit courses, taught in whole or part in the new green technology lab space. Additional green courses are offered in traditional classroom environments. They include business and healthcare management, sustainable landscaping, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) training and various certification prep courses and exams.

The audience for Workforce Training Center programs comes from many sectors of the community. One major element consists of agencies and organizations preparing potential and current workers for the green economy. New Mexico Works, the City of Albuquerque, Job Corps, the Albuquerque International Sunport, Help-New Mexico and YDI (Youth Development Inc.) are some of the clients in this effort. Others served by WTC courses include companies sending employees for contract training; working individuals and displaced workers seeking skills for promotions, career changes or job retention; business executives looking for new techniques of sustainable management; and community members wishing to increase the green quotient in their lives and homes.

Alternative energy and sustainability are projected to be a huge growth opportunity in the economy. With this first-rate new facility, CNM is positioned to help lead New Mexico to the forefront of the sustainability movement.