Application of Clean Energy Technology to Sustainable Agricultural Practice
Holyoke Community College (HCC), the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) and Hampshire College are implementing a project entitled "Application of Clean Energy Technology to Sustainable Agriculture Practice," the focus of which is development and improvement of the clean energy and sustainable agricultural programs across the three higher education institutions. The agricultural sector is one of the largest utilizers of clean energy in western Massachusetts and is a natural fit for the application of knowledge of clean energy through a trained workforce. HCC, Hampshire College, and UMass are positioned to change the culture of farming - to make the conversion to more sustainable food production.
The project goals are to: (1) ensure the relevance of the program approach and course activities and outcomes to both the regional clean energy industry and the agricultural industry; (2) improve and enhance the academic rigor of the clean energy and sustainable agriculture programs on all three collaborating campuses; (3) expand internship opportunities for students in clean energy and agriculture and provide mentoring opportunities to students in the programs on all three campuses; (4) expand existing academic/career pathways for students from vocational/traditional high schools, as well as adults returning to the workforce in the clean energy/agricultural industries; (5) expand recruitment efforts in energy/agriculture technology with emphasis on underrepresented groups, including women, racially/ethnically diverse populations and veterans, as well as adults enrolled in adult learning programs; (6) expand marketing efforts to increase the visibility of all three academic programs as models of the application of clean energy technologies to the agricultural sector; and (7) disseminate efforts on all levels - local, regional, and national. Outcomes of the project's evaluation will inform the broader community on the impacts of enhanced curricula and the expansion of internship opportunities, academic and career pathways and recruitment efforts on enrollment and workforce development in clean energy/agriculture.