As the job market becomes more competitive, the community colleges in Southern California need to revamp their vocational and avocational courses to prepare students for the twenty-first century and to reeducate workers in modern green technology jobs. While the nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) have superb curricula and degree and credential programs, funding from the state and federal governments is crucial to provide the necessary courses and to have affordable education for all of those needing a post-high school education.
During my three terms on the Board of Trustees, I have worked extensively to be sure that our LACCD colleges provide new training in such areas as solar power installation, biofuel technology, fashion design from recycled materials, organic culinary training, etc. I have worked to be sure that the academic curriculum includes ecological programs, environmental studies, and sustainabilty aspects in such areas as horticulture and the natural and biological sciences. I have also made sure that the LACCD continues the lead it took in establishing the largest green building program in the country which has resulted in the architectural and construction industry certifying thousands of individuals in LEED accreditation and other green building recognition.
The LACCD still has $2 billion to spend renovating campuses and building new facilities and these need to continue to be green and sustainable. With water and energy conservation incorporated in the designs, more money will be available in the long run for more classes instead of having to use the limited resources in maintenance and operations. Ecological buildings have less of a carbon footprint in addition to saving money. While the LACCD has about ten percent of its energy being generated from solar panels, more parking lots and roof tops need to have installed this environmentally-sound energy technology. Naturally, building green should be done with fiscal transparency and accountability.
Nancy has taught anthropology and communications in the community colleges. Through her nonprofit environmental organization, she has produced 2550 radio and television documentaries including the EMMY-nominated special “Wind: Energy for the 90s and Beyond.” She is recognized internationally by the United Nations Environment Programme.