Greenforce Initiative

Helping Colleges Build Green Career Pathways, Green Campuses

Helping community colleges develop pathways into “green economy” careers for low-skilled adults, while strengthening workforce development and college sustainability practices.

Mary V.L. Wright
Director, Employer Alliances
617.728.4446 x211



Six community colleges were awarded innovation mini grants from Bank of America to advance their efforts in the areas of green workforce development and campus sustainability.

College of Lake County: Development of a Green Economy Center Website, which will serve as a tactical hub for the growth of Lake County and North Eastern Illinois green economy; providing information, tools, resources and virtual peer-to-peer exchange opportunities which contribute to informed and integrated sustainable economic development.

Lincoln Land Community College: Mini-model home for hands-on learning and technical training in the areas of green construction, renewable energy and other programs on campus.

Olive-Harvey Community College: Development of a wetlands curriculum guide with sample lessons and photography which focuses on the wetland environment on the Olive-Harvey campus.

Richard J. Daley Community College: A case study and research document showcasing the success and challenges the City Colleges of Chicago have had in training for green careers.

Wilbur Wright College: Expansionof their green roof to be used a hands-on learning laboratory and to improve their stormwater runoff, reduce CO2 emissions and improve the greening of their campus.


Five community colleges were awarded innovation grants to advance their efforts green workforce development and campus sustainability.

Delta College: The Sustainability Ambassadors Program builds on the accomplishments of Delta College of furthering sustainability across the campus but with much farther and sustained reach. The program acts as the breeding ground for sustainable operations, projects, processes, and educational venues. The program acts as the communication link between the Sustainability Coordinators and their discipline, service area, or department to bring forth issues and ideas for projects in their respective areas, and to suggest, consider, and bring about new projects to grow campus sustainability. The group also serves as the advisory to the Sustainability Coordinator and Academic Sustainability Officer who, in turn, identifies projects and programs to incorporate into learning venues for our students, that is, to utilize the campus as a learning lab.

Lake Michigan College: Researched and created a "How-to Guide" on the topic of repurposing and converting shipping containers into eco-friendly functional space. Check out their blog post about how they engaged the community in this effort.

Lansing Community College: Through their college's Restoration Works program and the Allen Neighborhood Center, LCC is involving over 200 students from 12 classes to take part in retrofitting at least 2 local residential homes in the revitalization of the Allen Neighborhood of Lansing. The homes were scheduled for demolition, and through this project, the homes will be rebuilt with the environment and energy efficiency in mind. This is the first time that the program will have students conducting hands on energy efficiency and green construction work on a residential home in the community.

Grand Rapids Community College: Students are participating in the remodeling and relocation of a model green home and converting it into a functional learning lab for teaching sustainable construction, energy efficiency and conservation, and renewable energy. Upon completion of the program students will serve up to 300 hours in a paid Internship related to their training that may lead to full time employment.

St. Clair County Community College: Through two mini-grants, SC4 is working on promotional materials for their green/sustainability programming. Their first mini-grant assisted in the development of an interpretive sign that will kick start their green walking tour. Their second mini-grant is in the works now, and when finished three new short videos will showcase the green features on campus- including their alternative energy (wind, solar, and geothermal) and their green roof. All these materials will help put SC4 on the map for their hands-on training programs and green campus.

North Carolina

North Carolina has involved all 58 institutions in the state’s community college system. Seven colleges have credit and noncredit green training courses, as well as campus sustainability projects, underway. Six colleges were awarded innovation grants to advance their efforts in green workforce development and campus sustainability.

Blue Ridge Community College
Cape Fear Community College
Craven Community College
Gaston Community College
Haywood Community College
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
Wilson Community College

The following North Carolina Greenforce Initiative partners were awarded innovation grants to advance their efforts in the areas of green workforce development and campus sustainability:

Haywood Community College

Nash Community College

Piedmont Community College

Southeastern Community College

Stanly Community College

Wake Technical Community College


Seattle has six community college partners and is partnering with Skill UP Washington to expand the network. Five colleges were awarded innovation grants to advance their efforts in green workforce development and campus sustainability.

Cascadia Community College
Clover Park Technical College (awarded grant)
Highline Community College (awarded grant)
North Seattle Community College (awarded grant)
Seattle Community College District (awarded grant)
South Seattle Community College (awarded grant)


Greenforce has six community college partners in Texas, two of which were awarded innovation grants to advance their efforts in the areas of green workforce development and campus sustainability.

Alamo Colleges (key partner)
Houston Community College
Laredo Community College
Lone Star Colleges
South Texas College
 (awarded grant)
San Antonio College
 (awarded grant)


The 10 Greenforce community college partners in Virginia published a Green Labor Market report in October 2012. The colleges are:

Blue Ridge Community College 
(awarded grant)
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College
Eastern Shore Community College
Germanna Community College
 (awarded grant)
Lord Fairfax Community College
Northern Virginia Community College
Piedmont Virginia Community College
Rappahannock Community College
 (awarded grant)
Thomas Nelson Community College 
(awarded grant)
Tidewater Community College