Denver, Colorado — April 28, 2010 — Education Corporation of America, a leading owner and operator of private higher education institutions in the United States, announced today the launch of Ecotech Institute, the first and only college focused entirely on preparing America’s workforce for careers in renewable energy and sustainable design.
Ecotech Institute launched its first campus in the Denver metro area, offering seven associate’s degrees and a certificate program for people seeking careers in the emerging cleantech economy. Once its flagship Colorado campus, located in Aurora, is fully established, Ecotech plans to expand across the U.S. to help fuel rapidly growing industries in the clean energy sector.
"The time has come for a higher education institution that is 100 percent focused on preparing Americans for green collar jobs, not merely a department or program inside of an institution," says Tom Moore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Education Corporation of America. "Having been built by and for the renewable energy and sustainable design industries in collaboration with academic leaders, Ecotech Institute delivers practical career education that can transform people into highly skilled green collar professionals."
At an event at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science this morning, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter welcomed Ecotech Institute. “Colorado is leading America to a clean energy future by strengthening our ability to compete nationally and internationally for service and manufacturing jobs. Ecotech Institute’s Colorado campus will help prepare the workforce for those jobs,” said Gov. Ritter. “Colorado’s New Energy Economy is spurring new innovations and energy technologies. We are moving closer to energy independence by expanding homegrown energy supplies. We are ensuring stable, reliable, sustainable and affordable energy for all Coloradans.”
The museum rooftop includes a solar photovoltaic system with 465 solar panels on the southeast and southwest wings of the museum, which generates a portion of its electrical power.
Answering Industry Demands for Skilled Workers
Ecotech Institute is designed to serve the workforce development needs of this growing industry. A study released in February by Navigant Consulting, Inc. found that the number of renewable energy jobs would more than double by 2025 if the nation adopted a plan to require 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. Several states currently have renewable portfolio standards. Gov. Ritter recently signed legislation that will increase Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard to 30 percent, “A Best in the Rocky Mountain West,” by 2020, up from the current 20 percent requirement. The measure will create thousands of new jobs and lead to 100,000 solar rooftops in Colorado over the next decade.
Previous research reports have reached similar conclusions on the vast potential for green collar jobs. In the first-ever nationwide count of jobs created by clean energy industries, The Pew Charitable Trusts reported that clean energy jobs grew by 9.1 percent between 1998 and 2007, versus total job growth of 3.7 percent. Clean energy jobs in Colorado increased 18.2 percent during the same timeframe.
“Between the wind on the Eastern Plains, the sun in the San Luis Valley and the great minds at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden and our colleges and universities, Colorado can lead the world in clean energy production,” said Colorado Sen. Mark Udall. “But we also need great workforce development to power growth in renewable energy and that is why I am excited about Ecotech Institute launching in Colorado.”
Practical Curriculum for Today’s Jobs
Ecotech Institute, which is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, is launching with seven highly practical degree programs and one certificate program that provide graduates with skills that are highly valued by today’s renewable energy employers, including:
“Ecotech Institute programs connect people’s interest in hands-on work to high-paying environmental jobs,” says Michael Seifert, President of Ecotech Institute. “This is a very exciting time for the technicians and green-collar workers who are moving into renewable energy and sustainable design—two sectors that are poised for explosive growth.”
In order to ensure students will graduate with the most practical knowledge and skills in the renewable energy and sustainable design industries, Ecotech Institute tapped industry experts and leaders to co-develop the academic curriculum and serve as advisors.
“By bringing renewable energy industry leaders together with academic experts, Ecotech has built a curriculum that meets industry needs and helps students make the transition to the renewable energy sector,” said Craig Mataczynski, former CEO of Colorado-based Renewable Energy Systems Americas and member of the Ecotech advisory board. “It’s a win-win-win for Colorado, the industry and workers.”
Ecotech Institute: Helping to Transform Lives and Communities
Ecotech will transform an existing large footprint building in Aurora into a LEED-certified training facility that will incorporate energy and resource savings throughout the building. In addition to bringing the building up to LEED standards, Ecotech will also transform the vacant commercial building into a community asset. Most important, the school will help transform the lives of students through real-world education in the fields of renewable energy, sustainable design and energy efficiency.
“Ecotech Institute is bringing new jobs and skills to Aurora that will attract renewable energy companies to the metro area and Colorado,” said Wendy Mitchell, president and CEO of the Aurora Economic Development Council. “Its presence, and the skilled workforce they will provide, will strengthen our position as a leader in the renewable energy industry.”
About Ecotech Institute
Ecotech Institute is the first and only college entirely focused on preparing America’s workforce for careers in renewable energy and sustainable design. Launched in April 2010 in Denver, Colorado, the college offers seven associate’s degrees and a certificate program designed by experts in the industry for people seeking careers in the emerging cleantech economy. Ecotech Institute is a division of Education Corporation of America. For more information about Ecotech Institute, visit http://www.ecotechinstitute.com/.
About Education Corporation of America
Education Corporation of America is a leader in the post-secondary career school market with current enrollment of over 14,000 students. The ECA website is http://www.ecacolleges.com/. Schools include Virginia College, founded in 1983, a private institution of higher education that offers non-degree and associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in the areas of Health and Medical, Business, Information Technology, Interior Design, Computer Design, Cosmetology, Nursing and more in fourteen different cities. Virginia College campuses are located in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama; Jacksonville and Pensacola, Florida; Augusta, Georgia; Biloxi and Jackson, Mississippi; Charleston, Columbia and Greenville, South Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Austin, Texas. The Virginia College website is http://www.vc.edu/. Virginia College also offers classes worldwide via the Internet, with student services and admissions facilities in Birmingham, Alabama, and Tampa, Florida. Information about online classes at Virginia College is available at www.vconline.edu. Additionally, ECA operates Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College, with locations in Birmingham, Alabama, and Jacksonville, Florida. The website is www.culinard.com. ECA also operates Golf Academy of America, with locations in Phoenix, Arizona; San Diego, California; Orlando, Florida; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Golf Academy website is www.golfacademy.edu.