Just off the Barlow parking lot at the Oregon City campus sit two tiny houses that look like they were built for kids. A set from the upcoming Hobbit movie? No — the latest development in CCC’s renewable energy program. The houses are part of a renewable energy field lab — a testing site for students studying how to design an efficient building. Also on the lot are solar panels and a giant wind turbine blade — both used to help students build renewable energy into their résumés.
“A lot of these students used to be in construction,” said Abe Fouhy, instructor in CCC’s Renewable Energy Technology. “They are upgrading their skills with our renewable energy program.” Roughly 60 students are participating in the program, which started in 2009. The first graduates will enter the work force this summer. Students who complete the one or two-year renewable energy program will be generalists in the field, exposed to everything from home weatherization to solar and wind energy. Careers include energy systems installer, solar thermal technician and energy auditor.
“As these folks look to enhance their skills and marketability, a few classes in renewable energy can give them the knowledge to apply their skills in a new field,” said Scott Giltz, dean of Technology, Health Occupations and Workforce. All told, the coursework and the practical experience will lend itself to preparing students for a changing industry.
“Renewable energy is a growing field.” said Fouhy. “It’s good for the planet, good for the economy and has the potential to pay a family wage.”
For information, contact Deby McDowell at 503-594-3318.