SANFORD — The Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded a $200,000 GLOW (Golden LEAF Opportunities for Work) grant to Central Carolina Community College.
The college, in partnership with Lee County Schools and other community, business and industry agencies, will use the grant to train students in green building — the use of environmentally friendly, energy-efficient construction materials and techniques. At least 80 people will receive training under the grant program. The target groups are young adults ages 16-24, minorities, and those with a high school or less education. The training will lead to national certifications in the green building industry and increased employment opportunities.
The heart of the college’s GLOW-funded training program will be a green-building mobile unit. It will enable the college to provide hands-on training throughout its service area of Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties.
“We are delighted that the Golden LEAF Foundation recognized the quality and benefits of our proposed program to those who will receive training as well as to the whole area,” said Dr. Bud Marchant, president of Central Carolina Community College. “Workforce training is a critical part of the mission of North Carolina’s community colleges and, with the support of our community partners, Central Carolina has always been a leader, particularly in green programs.”
The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded a total of $3 million in GLOW grants to 16 community colleges in support of Gov. Bev Perdue’s JobsNOW:12 in 6 job training program. Priority for GLOW grants was given to grant proposals from areas that are tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural. All three criteria apply to Central Carolina Community College’s service area. The goal of the JobsNOW: 12 in 6 program is to put people back to work and boost the state’s economy by funding in-demand workforce skills training that takes no more than six months.
Green building is one of those skill areas that meet these criteria. The college has been offering continuing education green building training programs at its Chatham County Campus since 2002. Course offerings include weatherization, solar panel installation, high-efficiency lighting, solar hot water heat, green HVAC, and green construction.
Green building is part of the college’s commitment to sustainable education. Since 1996, its green programs have grown to include the first community college Sustainable Agriculture degree program in the nation and the only Alternative Energy Technologies: Biofuels degree program at a North Carolina community college. Because of its green leadership, the college is now referred to as “Green Central.”
“We are excited to be part of such a dynamic partnership with Central Carolina Community College and other community groups,” Dr. Jeff Moss, superintendent of Lee County Schools, said of the GLOW grant. “We believe this project can serve as a platform for our community to pursue more green related jobs, businesses, and grant opportunities in the future.”
The green building job market is growing in the counties around Fort Bragg due to expanding residential and commercial development. A driving force in this is the Department of Defense’s Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) plan, which is relocating the U.S. Army’s Forces Command and Reserve Command from Fort McPherson, Ga., to Fort Bragg.
“Central Carolina Community College’s GLOW grant short-term training will have an immediate local impact,” said Paul Dordal, executive director of the BRAC Regional Task Force. “Trainees will apply their skills to projects that will help residences and businesses save money, sending positive ‘ripple’ effects throughout the economy.”
The plans for carrying out the college’s GLOW grant will also directly benefit a family in Lee County. Students in the program will use their new skills to build an energy-efficient home and donate it to Habitat for Humanity.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Gary Wicker, director of Habitat for Humanity of the Sanford Area. “Everybody benefits. We’ve had so much support from the partnership.”
The Central Carolina Community College GLOW grant partnership includes Lee County Schools, Habitat for Humanity of the Sanford Area, Lee County Economic Development Corporation, Regional Homebuilders Associations, Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce, BRAC Regional Task Force, Sustainable Sandhills, N.C. Rural Community Assistance Project, Progress Energy and Chatham, Harnett and Lee county governments. The partnership is committed to continuing the training program beyond the 24-month grant period as well as promoting the hiring of program graduates.
“I’m excited to be able to endorse the GLOW initiative,” said Bob Heuts, LCEDC director. “We at the LCEDC endorse programs that get us into the green movement. The whole country is moving in that direction. I appreciate the schools and college’s looking for every opportunity to move people in this community to a higher level.”
For more information about the GLOW grant, contact Stelfanie Williams, CCCC vice president for Economic and Community Development, at (919) 718-7254, or by email at email@example.com