Six post-secondary institutions join City, Vancouver Economic Commission for Green Jobs Symposium

March 1, 2012 | Engaged City

Focus on developing human resources to support a green economy

The City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) announced today that Campus-City Collaborative’s (C3) second initiative, The Green Workforce Development Symposium, will be held Friday, March 2, 2012. The purpose of this symposium is to understand private sector needs for green jobs, assess current green curriculums, and identify training and education opportunities for students with respect to green jobs.

"C3 is driving innovation towards Vancouver's growth as a mecca for the green economy by drawing on the creativity of student leaders from across the city," said Mayor Gregor Robertson. "Together with industry experts and the VEC, the C3 Green Symposium will help us map out a strategy to create the kind of green jobs that will keep our local economy competitive and resilient."

While City Studio, C-3’s first project launched in 2011, works to provide students with hands on experience working on Greenest City issues, this Symposium is aimed at connecting the City’s six post-secondary institutions and their curriculum developers with industry employers to address skill shortages and gaps in the region’s growing green economy.  The sectors represented at the symposium include clean technology, green buildings, mining, health care and other sectors whose goals are to “green” all activities of their operations.

Two main panels will direct the work; the speakers on the Production Panel originate from industries with green products or services while the Process Panel represents industries that are undertaking the “greening” of their processes or operations. Panellists include: Mr. Troy Vassos, President Novatec (wastewater technologies);  Mr. Michael McPhie, President and CEO Curis Resources (mining); Ms. Nancy Knight, Associate Vice-President Campus and Community Planning UBC; Mr. Derek Stewart, Manager Environment and Sustainability Coast Mountain Bus; Ms. Patricia Baker, Principal Prism Engineering; and Mr. Glenn St. Onge, HR Manager, Automotive Fuel Cell Co-op.

“This symposium is a vital part of C3’s core objective which is to secure Vancouver’s reputation as a mecca of green enterprise.” said Lee Malleau, CEO of The Vancouver Economic Commission, “We are convinced that the work resulting from this symposium will provide concrete ideas that will guide the C3 partners when designing their academic curriculum in disciplines aimed at implementing greener practices.”

Hosted by BCIT at their Downtown Campus, all six post-secondary institution partners represented in C3, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Langara College, Simon Fraser University (SFU), The University of British Columbia (UBC) and Vancouver Community College (VCC) are participating in the Symposium in order to advance BC’s Green economy.  Representatives from each partner institution will host breakout tables in the afternoon to discuss the evolving recruitment needs of employers in various sectors as they transition to a greener economy. Vancouver-based non-profit GLOBE Foundation is also collaborating on this initiative, providing support and advice based on the organization’s extensive expertise and research on workforce development needs of the green economy.

 All of the C3 partners anticipate a rich, productive discussion:

“BCIT is delighted to host this symposium and help uncover solutions that will develop the green workforce of the future. This conference builds on other BCIT-led initiatives to green the trades, and our programs that focus on sustainable building practices.” said Don Wright, President of BCIT 

“Emily Carr is pleased to support the Green Workforce Development Symposium. This symposium is an important step in ensuring that our graduates are designing products and envisioning new design solutions to build Vancouver’s low carbon economy,” said Dr. Ron Burnett, President + Vice-Chancellor, Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

“Langara is proud to participate in the development of a green workforce as supported through the embedding of sustainability as a strategic priority for the institution.  This symposium will further identify opportunities for green initiatives development through the C-3 partnership,” said Dr. David Ross, President of Langara College.

 “SFU welcomes the Green Workforce Development Symposium and this unique collaboration to create green workforce solutions. As the green economy creates demand for new skills and training, this type of innovative partnership ensures Vancouver’s post-secondary institutions are delivering world-class green education.” said Andrew Petter, President of Simon Fraser University.

 “UBC is delighted to be a partner in the Green Workforce Development Symposium. This initiative meets our goals to be an incubator of sustainability innovation, to be engaged with our community in solving challenging problems, and to develop people with the talent and skills needed in today's 'green' enterprises," said Stephen Toope, President and Vice-Chancellor of UBC.

 “VCC is thrilled to be participating in the Green Workforce Development symposium, as ultimately, we take pride in the responsibility of helping to deliver the skills and training that the future workforce requires in order to deliver on the promise of the green economy.” said Kathy Kinloch, President of Vancouver Community College (VCC).

 “GLOBE Foundation is pleased to be a partner with the City of Vancouver and the Campus-City Collaborative on this important symposium. We have identified that there is a potential shortfall of 60,000 green workers in B.C. over the next decade, and the Green Workforce Development Symposium is a critical step towards ensuring that there is no skills shortage in the green economy”.  said, John Wiebe, President and CEO GLOBE Foundation.

 About VEC: The Vancouver Economic Commission, an agency of the City of Vancouver, works to strengthen the city’s economic future by helping existing businesses, attracting investment, researching the business environment and making policy recommendations. The main objective of C3 is to secure Vancouver’s international reputation as a mecca of green enterprise. City Council adopted the C3 resolution June 2011. Three projects have been implemented to date: CityStudio (August – Dec 2011), Green Workforce Education Conference, and a Research Collaboration Symposium (still to come 2012).