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Training Virginians to "Make Green Working Green"

February 16, 2011

CULPEPPER, Va. - A summit with educators, employers and workforce groups today will lay out strategies to make sure Virginians have the skills they need to succeed in the emerging "green" economy.

Dozens of employers, community college representatives, workforce boards and other groups are gathering at Germanna Community College to prepare for the influx of available green jobs.

Julian Keniry, senior director of campus and community leadership with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in Reston, says sustainable jobs are not only the wave of the future; they are already here.

"The green-job sector is growing faster than other sectors of the economy, so this is where the jobs will be, and we feel that Northern Virginia's especially well positioned to lead in this area with green buildings and greener transportation and sustainable agriculture."

Major changes are happening in the building and construction trades, says Dr. Jeanne Wesley, vice president for workforce development and community relations at Germanna Community College, and it's not only important for students to learn the new skills but for current workers to remain competitive.

"So they'll be able to get the jobs they're bidding on and be able to fill and stay employed because those skills are becoming increasingly important - weatherization and home performance - in building green."

The event has been assembled by the National Greenforce Initiative, which was launched last year by Jobs for the Future and the wildlife federation. The event is to begin at 9 a.m. at the college's Daniel Technology Center, 18121 Technology Drive, but is not open to the general public.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - VA