LCC and Partners Creating a New Career Pathway for 21st Century Building Scientists
NSF grant of $727,348 supports effort to meet demand for green workforce
LANSING 10/18/11 – A National Science Foundation (NSF) grant
of $727,348 will support a program being launched by Lansing Community
College (LCC) and its partners to develop education and training in
integrated building science to help meet the demand for a skilled workforce
in Michigan’s growing green building industry.
Building Smart: New Career
Pathways in Building Science, will identify career pathways
for building science-related fields, develop curricula with
input from industry partners, and will increase the number of
secondary and post-secondary students receiving education in
building science. A key part of the education will be
project-based learning, where students get hands-on experience.
A total of 60-90 students will be trained during the 3-year
Currently, there are very few academic programs in the nation that prepare individuals for jobs in the construction and construction-related industries that specialize in retrofitting or renovating existing buildings to make them more energy efficient, and/or who build new high performance, or green, buildings. One of the project’s goals is to create an integrated career and educational pathway that can be replicated across the country.
Green building is expected to support 7.9 million U.S. jobs and add $554 billion to the U.S. economy between 2009 and 2013. Jobs include carpenters, civil engineers, construction managers and laborers, electrical engineers, hazardous materials removal workers, and plumbers.
“The growing focus in the U.S. on green buildings is not limited to new construction,” said George H. Berghorn, Dean of LCC’s Technical Careers Division and principal investigator of the project. “There is increasing demand by businesses and homeowners to make energy efficiency gains in existing structures.
“There has been such a singular focus on
energy generating technologies that we often lose sight of how
much impact we can have through energy efficiency and energy
management technologies to control costs and reduce our reliance
on nonrenewable energy sources."
According to Berghorn, the key to success
is teamwork. High performing buildings rely on developing
systems (electrical, mechanical, lighting, etc) that work
together, instead of being addressed in isolation from one
another which is the traditional approach.
That means each member of the team must have knowledge of
building systems as well as applied knowledge in physics,
chemistry, math, and technical skills.
The other co-principal investigators on the
project are Ralph Hansen, Associate Superintendent for Career
Education and Employment Services at the Eaton Intermediate
School District and John Holmstrom, Senior Vice President at The
Michele Filipiak, Professor of Architecture Technology at LCC is
the project manager and Sean Huberty, Lead Faculty for
Alternative Energy Engineering Technology at LCC, is the
project’s faculty associate.
Partners in the program include: The Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center in Bettendorf, Iowa; Central Michigan University; Eaton Intermediate School District; Laney College in Oakland, CA; Lawrence Technological University; and Michigan State University. Industry partners include the Association of Energy Engineers, East Michigan Chapter; Clark Construction; The Christman Company; Kincaid-Henry Building Group; TH Eifert Mechanical Contractors; and the U.S. Green Building Council Heart of Michigan Branch. Outreach partners include the North American Women in Construction, Lansing Chapter, and Hard Hatted Women in Cleveland, Ohio.