The demand for green jobs has increased even as the larger jobs market declines, and now many colleges and universities have begun to offer courses in sustainability. The Ecotech Institute, located near Denver, Colorado, is the first school to be developed from the ground up with a focus on sustainability – it offers two-year associate degrees in eight green technology sectors. The programs promise hands-on technical training from experienced faculty to prepare students for the real-world applications of sustainable technologies, and the school stands to fill the needs of industries looking for qualified technicians.

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The school opened in April 2010, and soon the first set of graduates will be entering a marketplace in need of tech-savvy job applicants. One of the biggest gaps in education is the need for qualified technicians who have hands-on experience working with solar, wind, and energy-efficiency technologies. Located in a LEED Gold building crowned with wind turbines, The Ecotech Institute aims to fill the space between on-the-job training and a four-year engineering degree by preparing students with classroom curriculum and labs focused on renewable energy technologies. They claim to offer a more thorough education than conventional community colleges by focusing on very specific industry related subjects and by offering a more flexible schedule for working students.

The school curriculum focuses largely on solar and wind technologies and offers labs and classes that focus on real-world design, installation and service. To round out the offerings, an associate in applied sciences degree is available for environmental technology and energy efficiency. They also offer a program for energy and environmental paralegal education and a certificate for sustainable interior design.

While many job sectors are struggling to stay afloat in this economy, renewable energy continues to surge – and the prospect for clean tech jobs may be even larger in the coming years. The Ecotech Institute fills the need for companies who are struggling to acquire qualified staff to make sustainability a reality.

+ Ecotech Institute