Haywood Community College (HCC) has been recognized as a recipient of a Greenforce Initiative Innovation Mini-Grant. 

These grant funds will go to support HCC’s efforts to mitigate the impact of its development on the campus’s natural hydrology and native plant communities.  Thanks to this award, HCC will be able to establish a “test meadow” of native grasses on a campus construction site to serve as a demonstration for converting lawn to meadow, reducing landscaping maintenance requirements and creating wildlife habitats on campus.  HCC is one of only five community colleges in North Carolina to receive a Greenforce Innovation Grant.

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Jobs for the Future (JFF) have joined forces on a two-year project, started in 2010, to spur innovation in the role of community colleges in the coming green-jobs revolution.

With support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and CS Mott Foundation, The Greenforce Initiative is strengthening green career pathways leading to postsecondary credentials and family sustaining careers; increasing access and success for lower-skilled adults; and using campus “greening” or sustainability efforts as “learning laboratories” for education and training.

Building on the combined experience of NWF and JFF in environmental sustainability and workforce development, respectively, this commitment provides assistance to community colleges in six regions: Metro Chicago, Michigan, North Carolina, northern Virginia, Seattle, and South Texas.   The initiative has hosted seven summits in five states across the country, engaging more than 700 community college faculty, staff and administrators.

“We face a major challenge to retool and rebuild our workforce and meet the challenges of the future clean energy economy," said Lisa Madry, Campus Field Director for the National Wildlife Federation.  "The Greenforce Initiative will help accelerate America's ability to tackle the climate crisis while creating economic opportunities and pathways out of poverty."

Community colleges are increasingly called upon to both prepare graduates with the 21st century skills needed in a greener economy while also protecting community health and sustainability.  "Post-secondary credentials are increasingly required for careers that pay family-sustaining wages," said Gloria Mwase, Program Director with Jobs for the Future. "While the labor demand in key "green" sectors offer job growth opportunities in many communities, it is critical that we ensure that under-prepared adults can access and succeed in these careers."

Preston Jacobsen, HCC Sustainability Analyst, said “The grant received by HCC from NWF/JFF will provide our Low Impact Development, Fish & Wildlife, Horticulture and Forestry Programs, along with the Environmental Biology courses an opportunity to educate our students in a living laboratory setting. Students will earn real world experience through design, implementation and environmental monitoring of the funded projects all the while enhancing our campus pertaining to the restoration of native plant communities and enhancement of natural hydrology throughout the campus.”

The NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) estimates that within North Carolina, there are 12,500 full-time equivalent jobs in over 1,000 firms in industries related to renewable energy and energy efficiency, representing a 22 percent increase from the previous year.  In NCSEA's 2011 Clean Energy Databook, the Western North Carolina region has been crowned as #1 region in NC for renewable energy projects per capita and renewable energy firms per capita.

According to Matt Raker, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and AdvantageGreen for AdvantageWest Economic Development Group, Western North Carolina is a hotspot for job growth in the clean energy and efficiency, local sustainable agriculture, environmental technologies, and outdoor recreation industries.

Since its formation in 1936, National Wildlife Federation has worked with affiliates across the country to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for future generations. NWF seeks to engage and educate its 4 million members, partners and supporters with a focus on restoring habitat, confronting global warming and connecting people with nature. To learn more about NWF’s environmental higher education programs, visit the Campus Ecology www.campusecology.org and Greenforce Initiative www.greenforceinitiative.org pages.

Jobs for the Future develops, implements, and promotes new education and workforce strategies that help communities, states, and the nation compete in a global economy. In more than 200 communities across 43 states, JFF improves the pathways leading from high school to college to family-sustaining careers.


For more information please contact:  Carly Queen, Southeast Campus Field Coordinator, National Wildlife Federation, Email: queenc@nwf.org, Phone: 678-436-5083 or 404-312-2860