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By: Madeline Patton
About 10 years ago Emily Greene told a guidance counselor at Delaware Technical Community College (Delaware Tech) that she was thinking about an environmental science career because she wanted to make a difference in her home state. The woman suggested she look at the college’s new renewable energy program.
Greene did a little research and concluded that diving into renewable energy in 2010s would be akin to becoming a computer geek in the 1980s. “The people who got in and learned about computers ahead of the curve, look where they are. That’s what I wanted to do with renewable energy.” And so she has.
In her first job Greene worked as a measurement and verification analyst for a company that helped businesses and school districts in Delaware reduce their consumption by 30%. Then, as an energy planner for the state she wrote Delaware’s regulations for measuring and verifying energy savings. In 2018 she became an energy services manager for Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation (DEMEC) to help businesses and local governments save money by offering an energy efficiency program. And, in 2021, she became the compliance administrator at DEMEC’s Beasley Power Station, which uses natural gas and fuel oil to generate electricity.
“Being able to apply that technical degree has allowed me to get pretty far, pretty quick in my career,” Greene said.
“There’s a lot of other jobs in the industry that don’t involve installation and being on a roof,” said Jennifer Clemons, chair and an instructor in the Energy Technologies Department at Delaware Tech. Clemons credits hands-on professional development programs offered by two ATE initiatives with helping her and her Delaware Tech colleagues enhance the renewable energy solar program and create the energy management and building automation systems degree programs at the college.
Clemons was the newly hired solar instructor at Delaware Tech in 2011 when she attended a professional development program at Lane Community College where Roger Ebbage has used ATE grants and other funding to create the Northwest Water and Energy Education Institute. Then in 2012 and 2014 Clemons attended professional development workshops offered by the Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education (CREATE). Its principal investigator is Ken Walz at Madison Area Technical College.
“We learned material from them [ATE principal investigators and their teams] and then tweaked it and made it our own,” Clemons said of ATE’s curricula impact. Those hours of high quality professional development subsequently helped Delaware Tech programs receive accreditation from the North American Board of Energy Practitioners. Program accreditation means students can sit for the professional organization’s industry certification exams. Clemons said industry certification is “not required for employment, but it’s definitely very helpful.”
The Delaware Tech programs prepare students for careers in renewable energy system design, site assessment, and management of energy systems in commercial buildings. Clemons said demand is strong for graduates and that 100% of energy programs students have job offers on or before graduating. “I could place 10 times the students I have,” Clemons said.
Read the full article, ATE Professional Development Laid Groundwork for Emily Greene’s Energy Career Paths, on ATE Central.