NEWS

For Immediate Release 
July 20, 2009

Illinois Chosen To Receive Technical Assistance in Developing 'Green' Career-Technical Programs of Study


Illinois to receive national center’s assistance in green programs focused on energy, utilities and waste management

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Community College Board announced today it is one of five states chosen to expand green-focused programs of study in career and technical education. Illinois will receive technical assistance from the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE), along with Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio and Oregon.

"This valuable assistance will help Illinois infuse green concepts into the curriculum and inform our students on how they can make a difference in our environment as well as the Illinois workforce," said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. "Green programs of study support the state’s goal to ensure students are equipped with the necessary skills for academic and career success in the 21st Century."

The Louisville, Kentucky-based National Research Center will offer guidance on programs of study in secondary and post-secondary institutions in Illinois with a specific focus on energy, utilities and waste management. The State Board of Education, along with the Illinois Community College Board, will use the assistance to develop coherent and rigorous technical and academic content that can lead high school graduates to an industry-recognized credential, associate or baccalaureate degree.

"Working with ISBE in securing this grant, the ICCB helps position community colleges as leaders in the Green movement," said Geoffrey Obrzut, president and chief executive officer of the ICCB. "Our participation in this effort will increase opportunities for articulation between high schools and community colleges and develop green programs of study that will impact broader efforts throughout the state."

The focus on green jobs will allow the state to support a wide array of programs that cross industry lines and help individuals prepare for new or altered jobs in the clean-energy economy. By bringing together state-level teams around the various "Green" sectors – including energy, transportation, housing and construction – Illinois will be better able to respond to local workforce needs and national policy priorities.

Illinois has formed a strong inter-agency partnership to address career development with representatives from the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Community College Board, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

The five participating states will participate in a 14-month process to develop "green-focused" programs through the National Research Center. Each state will work with a facilitator to provide ongoing assistance along with consultation from content experts.

State teams will participate in a three-day technical assistance academy later this year in Washington, D.C. At the conclusion of this initiative, the selected states will work with the National Research Center to share their best and most promising practices for implementing programs of study.

The Education Department's Office of Vocational and Adult Education funds the center, which is located at the University of Louisville's College of Education and Human Development. It generates scientifically-based knowledge, disseminates findings, conducts professional development activities and provides technical assistance -- all to improve career and technical education in the United States.

For more on the center, see its Web site at http://www.nrccte.org. Information on the Office of Vocational and Adult Education can be found at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/index.html.

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