Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Fremont, Calif., September 29, 2021—The Ohlone College Environmental Studies Department is the lead institution for an exciting collaboration called the 100+ Jobs to Feed People and Sustain the Planet project focused on advancing green jobs in the agriculture & food, natural & working lands, and natural resource management sectors. The project is a collaboration between the Bay Area Community College Consortium, Ag+Water+Environment Technologies (AWET) Employer Engagement Program, and Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE).

”This is a timely venture given the recent data from the United States Department of Labor Statistics and it’s encouraging to students who are considering going into this job sector,” says Ohlone Professor of Environmental Studies/Geography/Global Studies Narinder Bansal. “The data indicates that employment opportunities for environmental scientists and related specialists will grow 8% over the next 10 years with pay ranges above overall median income levels between $71,160 a year to upwards of $122,960 for environmental lawyers.”

The project has two components. The most developed component is the 100+ Jobs to Feed People and Sustain the Planet website, an interactive resource designed to inspire students, job seekers and career changers, to explore future-oriented jobs in agriculture, food, water, and the environment. The centerpiece of the website is an array of digital job stories featuring short informal videos of vibrant, early-career people who work in these fields—describing what they love about their jobs, what they do every day, their pathway to the job, and their aspirations. Created around the videos, each job story is packaged as a digital card deck that also includes information about wages and education pathways.

“It’s important for students to hear what jobs are really like first-hand from people who are actually doing the work,” adds Bansal. “What matters to them most is knowing what their employment options are in the future and being able to see the conditions of the work environment, getting salary information, and learning about what it’s really like on the job.”

The second component of the project, still in the early stage of development, is an initiative to strengthen alignment between community college programs and the workforce development needs of employers in the agriculture and food, natural and working lands, and natural resource management sectors. Findings from a recent survey of these employers show a strong interest in programs that link on-the-job training with focused education programs.

“Employers are eager to support the development of a pipeline of diverse employees with the skills needed to address current challenges and they also want to help increase awareness about emerging career opportunities,” says Sibella Kraus, SAGE President and project manager. “There is growing demand for people with specialized skill sets related to climate change, such as habitat restoration, regenerative agriculture, watershed conservation, and ecosystems knowledge; in addition to general skills in project management, communications, and community engagement.”

For further information about this project, contact:

Narinder S. Bansal |  Professor, Environmental Studies/Geography/Global Studies
Ohlone College Department of Environmental Studies & Department of Geography
NBansal@ohlone.edu

Fred Sconberg | Regional Director of Employer Engagement
Agriculture, Water & Environmental Technologies
California Community Colleges, Bay Area
fred@baccc.net

Sibella Kraus | President, Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE)
sibella@sagecenter.org