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GCC joins regional training consortium



Recorder Staff
Sunday, July 16, 2017

GREENFIELD — As part of an effort to create local jobs around a sustainable and green economy, Greenfield Community College will partner up with a handful of schools to create a regional training consortium.

The four schools — Greenfield Community College, Antioch University New England, Keene State College and School for International Training — will work together, covering the bases from associates to graduate degrees in helping to link students up with potential positions in the area, as a hope to keeping students in the area and growing the local economy.

Brattleboro-based Ecovation Hub, a project created out of the wake of the closure of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in 2014, will formally launch its Ecovation Education and Training Consortium Thursday, July 20, at Antioch University New England in Keene, N.H.

“With this consortium, we can help students map out where they want to go, and how to get there,” said Greenfield Community College Science Department Chairwoman Teresa Jones in a statement. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for public higher education to leverage other public and private institutions to the benefit of our region, and theirs.”

The college is in the beginning of its third year of a $635,000 National Science Foundation Scholarship grant that gives qualified students up to $10,000 of additional scholarship money, said the school’s Sustainable Agriculture and Green Energy (SAGE) Director Peter Rosnick. This scholarship is geared toward students focusing on renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, environmental science and engineering.

“The Ecovation Education & Training Consortium is a logical next step that demonstrates to potential funders the widening circle that will provide our students with clearer academic and career pathways while supporting region-wide green economic development.

The basic goal is simple: link students up with internships in their field of interest, particularly that of the sustainable, green economy, help them network within that community while there, with the hope that they will have a good chance at a good job in that field in the area after graduating.

That’s at least the hope of Sarah Kanabay, a member of the leadership team of Evocation Hub and communications manager for the Franklin County Co-operative.

“Making sure that the Evocation Hub and the consortium is focused on that students leaving those programs have partners in the business community and are interested in hiring them,” Kanabay said.

Kanabay referred to the co-op’s internship program last year that offered leadership positions to about 10 students to run Green Fields Market’s Tuesday’s farmers market. She said she hopes that continuing a program like that can connect students with professional partners in the town for them to then be able to find a future job. The hope is that cycle of helping local students interested in a green economy find jobs locally in that economy can lead to a more robust economy.

“I must say that the most powerful (part of the consortium) is its potential as an economic engine,” Greenfield Community College President Bob Pura said in a statement. “I continue to see this region as ideal for green building and sustainable energy industry development. Our students are learning and preparing to lead the way.”