Community Education and Workforce Development’s role in sustainability

The Office of Community Education and Workforce Development at GCC offers more than 100 credit-free classes and workshops each semester in topics that range from pure personal enrichment to in-depth workforce training and education. The office has been involved in sustainability efforts at GCC for the better part of the last decade, offering  several classes and workshops in topics like Permaculture and Sustainable Landscape Design as regular features of the College’s credit-free programming. In many cases we pilot workshops before they are developed as credit-bearing classes, and we frequently partner with academic departments at GCC, combining for-credit  and credit-free students in the same Blended Learning environment. We help train the workforce in new and emerging technologies and offer brief introductions to renewable energy  and sustainable practices for area homeowners and small business owners. Finally, based as we are at the GCC Downtown Center, we  work in the heart of the downtown, helping to maintain the College’s place in the sustainable life of a vibrant, working downtown.

Not all of the following classes are available each term. Visit Workforce Development’s SAGE site to learn more.

  • Introduction to Sustainable Design & Green Building HIPBN_GreenfieldCC_Ex#9C2CFAn introduction to sustainable design and green building. Topics include the study of energy issues related to buildings. Additional topics include residential building site analysis and design; air, heat and moisture flow; green building materials; climate and designing with nature;...
  • Renewable Thermal Heating Systems Building Tour GreenfieldLocal teaching tour of buildings in downtown Greenfield and Greenfield Community College featuring mini-splits, air & ground-source heat pumps, pellet-fired boilers & other space heating systems to retrofit existing buildings and in new construction. Buildings retrofitted to condensing gas-fired boilers...
  • Renewable Thermal Heating Systems for Commercial & Residential Buildings greenheatingLearn about mini-splits, air & ground-source heat pumps, pellet-fired boilers & solar-assisted space heating systems to retrofit existing buildings and in new construction. Compare the performance of these systems to the best condensing boiler & furnace systems fired on natural...
  • Farm and Food Entrepreneurship Farm & Food EntrepreneurshipProvides students interested in farm and food systems with an awareness of the business skills necessary to run their businesses successfully. Students examine the social and ethical values common to both successful business operations and sustainable farm systems. This course...
  • Sustainable Landscape Design FinishGarden2Explore the fundamentals of landscape and sustainable design strategies that address the ecological, water, energy and food system links between new and existing buildings and their supporting sites. Includes geology, hydrology, soils, vegetation, design principles, green roofs, green walls, rainwater...
  • Introduction to Home Heating and Cooling HVACAn examination of the basic principles of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). Topics include heat transfer, air conditioning and refrigeration cycles; hydronic and air system components; differentiation between system types; equipment and tools needed for common and emerging HVAC...
  • Residential Energy Efficiency & Energy Auditing WeatherizationAn exploration of the methods and skills required to perform energy audits of residential buildings. Topics include methods of energy conservation; elements and steps of energy auditing; energy conservation; insulation of walls, foundations and attics; door and window infiltration reduction;...
  • Introduction to Photovoltaic (Solar Electric) Technology Solar HappinessAn introduction to photovoltaic (solar electric) technology for students with a strong personal interest in Photovoltaic (PV) technology as well as those considering a career in solar electric technology. This course provides students with the theoretical basis for understanding the...
  • Applied Residential Energy Auditing Blower Door TestA hands-on use of equipment for conducting a residential home energy audit. Students perform an inspection and evaluation of the exterior and interior of an actual structure, operate a blower door and measure air leakage, evaluate air sealing and insulation,...
  • Fundamentals of Electricity ElectricityAn introduction to electricity with an emphasis on sustainable energy applications. Topics include DC/AC circuit operations, electrical distribution systems, common semiconductor devices, the National Electrical Code , electrical safety, and common electrical methods and techniques. Prerequisite: MAT 105, COL 090,...
  • Creating Farm & Food Co-ops Food CoopExplores cooperative member-owned business models (co-ops) and their various forms of democratic ownership with a focus on the local food economy. Students form groups and receive mentorship in creating their own co-op enterprise with the goals of strengthening food security,...
  • Introduction to Food Systems Food Systems with LetteringAn introduction to the current state of the global food system and its implications for people, the environment, and our future. Topics include the benefits and drawbacks of the industrial agricultural model; food justice, food security and public health; the...
  • Permaculture Landscape Management & Installation Perm Culture ManageOffers students hands-on permaculture skills for productive landscapes. Students gain applied skills through direct observation of and interaction with permaculture systems, including an edible forest garden, stormwater irrigation system, greenhouse, constructed pond, earth-bermed root cellar and living roof. This course...
  • Mushroom Foraging & Cultivation 773694_white_mushroom_WildFoodApplies permaculture principles in the foraging and cultivation of wild fungi. Field activities include collection, identification, and cultivation of fungi for culinary purposes and holistic medicine. Students learn to identify and cook safe-to-eat mushrooms and to preserve medicinal fungi using...
  • Wild Foods Wild FoodsA basic introduction to observing, identifying, harvesting and preserving native plants, herbs and weeds for edible and nutritional purposes. Topics also include how common weeds, including invasive species, can be turned in to value-added products-improving the productivity of farms, gardens...
  • Food Preservation and Storage CanningProvides strategies and techniques for preserving and storing food. Topics include: kitchen safety, rules for food safety, canning basics, dehydration, cold storage and freezing, food selection, choosing and maintaining equipment, and awareness of local food resources. Special Requirement: Must possess...
  • Organic Gardening Organic Gardening (150x97)Provides instruction in a natural gardening program and practical “hands-on” introduction to the basic philosophy, content, and methods of organic gardening and permaculture design. Using a model garden site, participants plan and design a garden, prepare the soil, plant the...
  • Beekeeping Beekeeping (150x118)Provides strategies and techniques for the beginner beekeeper. Topics include: hive construction, life cycle of the honey bee, hive management through the seasons, threats to the health and wellness of bees, diverse approaches and the joys of beekeeping. This is...
  • Four Season Farming Four Season ShopcartExplores strategies for extending growing seasons into the fall and winter. Includes such topics as: hoophouses, coldframes, raised beds, mulch, managing seasonal crops, frost proofing, cold hardy crops, early spring greenhouse management, winter snow removal, and seed germination under unheated...
  • Green Careers Exploration & Career Skill Building greencareer_thumbnailExplore the diverse array of expanding green careers and the impact of sustainability on existing occupations and industries. Students engage local community members, organizations and employers, and develop important work-finding skills. This is a HYBRID class: 62% of class content...
  • Permaculture Design GCC Permaculture Gardens Phase ITopics include permaculture theory, innovative techniques, systemsthinking, and site assessment and analysis (e.g. patterns of sun/shade, drainage, vegetation). Lab components include hands-on learning and technical skills  through field work on campus, field trips, and design studio. Students apply these skills...
  • Community Energy Solutions peter-talmage150Explores the fundamental concepts relating to renewable and nonrenewable energy sources with an emphasis on sustainable energy use and conservation. Topics include world energy use and primary energy sources, local energy issues, and an overview of sustainable energy technologies (e.g....
  • Principles of Green Building Ed2goThis course, developed and written in partnership with nationally recognized building science experts from Advanced Energy of North Carolina, is designed to teach an individual in the building, remodeling, or trade industry the principles they must know to make buildings perform more...
  • Weatherization Installer xWxIC-150x150Learn basic building science; basic diagnostics; tool, material and equipment selection, use, & maintenance; air sealing and insulation techniques; quality assurance and customer service. Course graduates will be able to pursue Building Performance Institute’s (BPI) Residential Building Envelope Whole House...