Enrollment is currently open for a new Energy Resource Advisor (ERA) certificate program being offered at Winona State University.
The Energy Resource Advisor program has been designed to meet the continuing education needs of individuals and employers. Students will complete 56 total hours of education and training, including 40 hours of online coursework and 16 hours hands-on experience through a capstone project at the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro, Minn.
“This project will foster an incredible statewide network to accelerate public understanding of energy efficiency, clean energy, carbon emissions, resource conservation, green technologies and new jobs,” said Diane Dingfelder, director of outreach and continuing education at WSU. “Through online education and hands-on training, students can become leaders in environmental sustainability in their workplace, community or home.”
Supported by a $30,000 Innovation Grant from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, WSU collaborated with several organizations to develop the ERA certificate program, which is the first of its kind in the state of Minnesota.
Partners include: Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center (one of Minnesota’s six accredited Environmental Learning Centers); Clean Energy Resource Teams of the Southeast Minnesota Region; Winona County Environmental Services, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Upon completion of the pilot program, the curriculum will be distributed statewide through a partnership between the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and the state network of Residential Environmental Learning Centers.
According to Joe Deden, Executive Director of Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, the recent passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has issued a call to action to develop a green economy based on energy independence, green technologies, and green jobs. “Climate change and the need to sustain our water, soil, and air quality have pushed environmental issues to the top of the political, economic, and social agenda,” said Deden. “We are being challenged to develop new green technologies and green jobs with few established curricula to meet the need,” he added.