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“CHINA IS CRUNCHING US.” IF VIRGINIA IS TO COMPETE FOR GREEN JOBS, COMMUNITY COLLEGES LIKE GERMANNA MUST PREPARE STATE’S WORKFORCE
Terry McAuliffe, chairman of GreenTech Automotive, says he’s bringing 5,000 “green collar” jobs to America from China, and that he’d like for a lot of those jobs to go to Virginians. His company bought a Chinese car manufacturer and is transplanting it to the United States.
During the Greenforce Summit hosted by Germanna Community College’s Center for Workforce and Community Education last week at the Daniel Center in Culpeper, McAuliffe, said, “I’m looking for a trained workforce here in Virginia” and that community colleges must play a key role in that training or the U.S. could lose the growing competition for green jobs to emerging ecomomies such as China’s.
“Not only in Virginia, but in America, we have got to get in front of this,” he said. “China is crunching us.”
McAuliffe said he’d like to locate a lot of jobs involving construction of electric and hybrid vehicles in a part of Virginia with a high unemployment rate.
He said the site must, “have good rail access, be close to a port and have quality workforce development. It doesn’t do any good unless I can get people to work in the factory.”
Virginia Community College Chancellor Glenn DuBois said the state’s community colleges are up to the job of preparing the workforce for to fill green jobs.
“Until recently I didn’t see a huge demand for jobs, but we are now starting to see it and starting to respond,” DuBois said.
“There is much more to do,” DuBois said. “We have to teach it and prepare the workforce for it.”
He is optimistic about the VCCS’ ability to deliver in part because: “I’ve never seen a better environment for grants. And green sustainability is at the top of the list.”
Grants from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation helped fund the Germanna summits as part of the national Greenforce Initiative, organized by the National Wildlife Federation and Jobs for the Future.
“Community colleges across the country,” said Victor Branch, marketing manager for Bank of America, “are at the forefront of green growth and innovation whether it’s addressing their own sustainability, developing new curricula to cultivate the green workforce or making their campus operations a classroom by integrating sustainability into education to prepare graduates for jobs in the renewable energy and low-carbon economy.”