Careers in Weatherization, Home Energy Efficiency Get Boost Through New Training Facility at Hudson Valley Community College
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As fuel prices continue to rise, so do careers in the weatherization and energy efficiency field. Local opportunities in that field got a big boost today with the opening of a dedicated “pressure house” training facility at Hudson Valley Community College.
From the outside, the building looks like a typical suburban home, but inside it’s uniquely constructed to serve as a state-of-the-art training facility for those in the building science field. Drafts and other air leakages can be simulated throughout the house through the use of dampers, which can be set up in an infinite number of combinations for students to identify. The house will be used for training and testing of those in the field.
According to statistics from the Department of Labor, those interested in finding careers in weatherization and home energy efficiency will see a growing job market over the next decade. The Occupational Outlook Handbook noted that 15,000 new jobs will be created for insulation installers. There also will be a growing market for home energy auditors. Incentives offered for several years by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Green Jobs Green New York program allow for no cost or low-cost home energy audits to New York State homeowners.
The training building will be used by Hudson Valley Community College’s Workforce Development Institute, which offers a variety of building science courses for those entering the home energy efficiency field. The New York State Weatherization Directors Association (NYSWDA) also will make use of the facility for training, as will the college’s Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technical Services Department, which offers an associate’s degree in the field.
“Careers in the weatherization field are becoming more plentiful as homeowners and business owners realize the economic benefits of energy efficiency,” said Hudson Valley Community College President Drew Matonak. “We hope to draw people from around eastern New York to courses offered at the college, and we know that this training site will be a valuable tool.”
“Housing science and the dynamic of how residential buildings perform is far more complex than most people recognize,” said Andy Stone, Executive Director of NYSWDA. “This facility will allow all of us to train hard skills in a real world atmosphere, and we are excited to be able to bring it to this part of the state.”
Hudson Valley Community College oversaw a five-year statewide network of energy efficiency training sites that served more than 5,000 students between 2007 and 2011. Courses, which focused on teaching the “whole house” approach to energy efficiency, were aimed at achieving progressive certifications from the Building Performance Institute (BPI). BPI certification ensures that the training meets the highest standard set by the industry. Although the state-wide contract has ended, Hudson Valley’s Workforce Development Institute continues to provide those training courses as do other community colleges and service agencies around the state.
The lab was made possible with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding through New York State Homes and Community Renewal's Weatherization Assistance Program.
The training lab is located on the grounds of the former Hy Rosenblum Administration Center at Hudson Valley. An open house and ribbon-cutting took place Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the site with Congressman Paul Tonko, Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino, President Matonak, NYSWDA Executive Director Stone and New York State Homes and Community Renewal Assistant Commissioner Daniel Buyer.
Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 70 degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 13,500 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training. Hudson Valley has more than 65,000 alumni.
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