A Hot Specialty: Community Colleges Offer Vocational Training for Emerging Careers

Victor Valley College in Victorville, Calif., provides vocational training in the emerging field of green energy.
by Andy Kim | September 2010

Community colleges have become particularly adept at vocational training. They educate and certify students in one particular area, enabling them to enter the work force after just a few years of specialized schooling -- oftentimes in emerging fields, such as green energy.

One such program is run by Victor Valley College in Victorville, Calif., where the nation's largest concentrated solar array -- an electrical device comprised of a large collection of connected solar cells -- provides renewable energy to the campus. Through the college's new Workforce Training Center, the solar facility will help prepare students for the rapidly emerging solar industry. Victor Valley's solar training program has been around for a while, says Bill Greulich, the college's public information officer, but it had been limited in scope, teaching the basics as they were known at the time.

With the new solar training facility and courses, a student should be fully qualified to install, repair and maintain solar systems themselves. And that should open up many career opportunities in renewable energy mechanisms.

"In our area, the three things we have are land or earth, sun or solar, and wind," Greulich wrote in a press release. "So earth, wind and fire create a great climate for the development for all types of renewable energy sources. We will undoubtedly see the development of a great many solar fields, because the cost of delivering energy through the new technology is profitable."