Climate change is a growing concern across the country. Stronger storms, changing weather patterns, and more extreme results from seasonal temperature swings are having an effect on many factors of life, and especially so on industries. To help remediate the impacts of global warming, many organizations, companies, and state governments are looking toward clean and renewable energy as a way into the cutting-edge technologies in fields such as solar, wind, water, nuclear, geothermal, and bio-energy are coming forward each month. But for clean energy to truly advance and become a part of everyday life for all, a skilled workforce that can meet the needs of the clean energy revolution is needed. To meet these needs, a new $15 million investment was allocated for SUNY to take on two initiatives: funding the clean-energy workforce and also developing training programs on our campuses.
This continues the great work across @SUNY to provide the clean energy workforce that today’s economy & environment need, via @newsday. Awesome visit to @FarmingdaleSC w/ @LtGovHochulNY yesterday! https://t.co/QtJQV9RPy5
— Kristina M. Johnson (@SUNYChancellor) September 5, 2018
“As the federal government moves further away from responsible energy policy and clean energy production, New York is committed to fighting climate change and protecting our environment,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “We will continue to take bold action to promote clean energy across the state and support job growth in cutting-edge, renewable industries.”
Nearly $6 million was awarded to our campuses to train workers in the clean-energy sector, as well as $9 million through a partnership with the Department of Labor, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Empire State Development, and Industrial Development Agencies to develop programs throughout SUNY system. With applied learning experience, the programs give students many opportunities varying from the ability to go to Clean Energy Certification programs which give students credits that they may need for their degrees to expanding research opportunities that identity short and long term needs of the environment.
The following list outlines what campuses were awarded funding and how they plan to use the funds:
While the above list of campuses, programs, and initiatives are a great start, these efforts are just the beginning as many of our other schools will soon follow. All of these new developments fit in line with the work that has been taking place across SUNY for quite some time. With our 64 campuses, and around 600,000 students, SUNY has pledged to be actively involved in building a cleaner future.
In Chancellor Johnson’s 2018 State of the University System address, she shared plans to have SUNY utilize zero-net-carbon energy sources as soon as possible. We’ve also been at work on a pledge to improve energy efficiency performance by 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020 and by 40 percent by 2030, compared to 2015 baseline levels as part of Governor Cuomo’s executive orders.
Moreover, the efforts at increasing clean energy use and development need to be scaled to succeed. To bring together colleges and community, SUNY has paired with 15 leading universities as part of the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3). The UC3 will follow a model that is meant to help local and regional communities achieve their goals towards a low-carbon future. These schools will set an example in pledging to reduce their institutional carbon footprints. The UC3 will also be working with Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Network, a group comprised of hundreds of colleges and universities who have committed to take action on climate and prepare students through research and education to find solutions to 21st-century issues.
As the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, SUNY is dedicated to actively lead, create, and pave the way towards a greener future, and through our collective knowledge, talents, and hard work can make a difference. As best stated by Chancellor Johnson, “SUNY is proud to provide high-quality, hands-on, and the most up-to-date clean energy education and training to our students, building a diverse, preeminent talent pipeline for today and tomorrow’s clean energy industry in New York State.”
Across the whole SUNY system, there is a growing sense of pride in bringing along the solutions that will help bring us a more sustainable future.
Tiffanie is a Social Media Assistant Intern at SUNY System Administration. She is a senior at SUNY Albany double-majoring in Psychology and Communications.