With one full semester now complete, the  Environmental Resource Program at College of the Siskiyous is up and running and, and Jeff Cummings, Dean of Career and Technical Education, gave a short presentation on the subject at the Weed Rotary luncheon last week, outlining the details of the program and its hopes for the future. 
“We are working hard to do everything we can to meet the community’s needs,” said Cummings, emphasizing the importance of the new program to providing job training skills that will put people to work locally. 
Cummings noted that the first semester had good enrollment and that, as word continues to get out about the program, it will grow.
“We’ve gotten a lot of attention from around the world,” said Cummings,    noting that the program has drawn students from different parts of the country. 
Cummings outlined the three major degree and certificate  options that make up the program, emphasizing that each offers pathways to entry level jobs in the rapidly growing green job economy. 
They include the Power Generation Technology Program, the Environmental Resources Technology Program and the Sustainable Communities Program.
The Power Generation Technology component of the program will prepare students for entry-level jobs in the steam and electrical power generation industry, which, said Cummings, includes bio-mass cogeneration plants. 
  The Sustainable Communities Program, explained Cummings, is intended to allow students to identify green job opportunities that could include small business  development or some other entrepreneurial niches.
“Industries and communities are changing  rapidly,” said Cummings, emphasizing that the program is trying to meet the new demands and help provided the skill sets necessary for individuals to stay and work in Siskiyou County.
The third program option is the Resources Technology Program.  “Let’s get folks back in the woods,” said Cummings, noting that this program is intended to train students for entry level jobs as natural resource technicians, which could include jobs doing survey work for government agencies or private industries.
“The upward potential is immensurable,” said Cummings, adding that part of the challenge is to keep the program growing and changing to adopt to ever changing demands.  “In two to five years, a program can stagnate,” he said, unless it remains dynamic and flexes to meet evolving needs.
Cummings stressed, above all, the importance of strong partnerships for the successful growth of the program.  “We are continually looking for opportunities to partner,” he said, whether that be with private industries, government agencies or local government.  “They allow us to  provide training for people to stay in Siskiyou County and earn a good living.” he added. 
He mentioned, in particular, a partnership with the STEP program, as well as opportunities stemming from ARRA stimulus funds.
 “It’s your program,” he emphasized.
 At the conclusion of Cummings’ presentation, College President Randy Lawrence noted that college has made a commitment to becoming energy neutral some time in the future, which would mean that their facilities would  produce as much   energy as it  consumes, whether that be through solar, bio-mass co generation or wind power.