Thursday, April 15, 2010

Green Creds

"[W]e've concluded that not only is developing a comprehensive, comprehensible map of 'green' credentials impossible, it isn't worth doing if it doesn't get us closer to a coherent national system."

Sarah White with Laura Dresser and Joel Rogers, Greener Skills: How Credentials Create Value in the Clean Energy Economy, Center on Wisconsin Strategy, COWS, 2010.

This statement is a bit confusing -- and I'm not sure that I agree. If something is impossible, how can it be worth doing under any circumstances? And while I agree that national standards for weatherization techs may reduce some of the chaos,although some regional diversity makes sense, evoking the need for a national system seems quite a reach, for all of workforce training. Maybe this system-building approach is more plausible because DOE is such a major funder on the demand side of clean economy development.

In a larger sense, "credentials" should create value when there is in fact a substantial clean energy economy. Is this the case in the here and now and for what parts of the green economy? At what stage of scaling do credentials matter? Add value? Is now the right time? Or can we tolerate some chaos until lift off? We've created a clean energy training economy that is training more people than there are jobs at the moment. Maybe we should put "demand driven" on the top of the list for credentials --and rely upon more than the usual labor market information.

That said, it's useful to have a discussion about credentials and clean energy in one place.

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