Corporate America to Benefit From New Degree Delivering Skilled Green Collar Job Prospects

Energy independence and an educated workforce are critical to a prosperous future for Wisconsin. To respond, the University of Wisconsin-Extension is charging in with a bold new degree: the nation’s first online Sustainable Management bachelor's degree. For the first time, UW-Extension has brought together the strengths of four different University of Wisconsin campuses—UW-Parkside, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout and UW-Superior—to craft a degree completion program that equips workers with the management skills they will need to lead sustainable business strategy.

In as little as two years, Corporate America will be able to tap these newly minted Green Collar managers. UW-Extension and its four campus partners received Board of Regents approval for the new degree Friday. Applications for Fall 2009 will be accepted beginning May 15.

"I commend the UW-Extension for developing the nation's first online Sustainable Management bachelor's degree," said Department of Commerce Secretary Richard J. Leinenkugel. "The Green Economy has real growth potential in Wisconsin, and we will need skilled and talented workers to get the job done."

Careers Benefiting from the Sustainable Management Degree

Far from an academic exercise, the Sustainable Management degree takes the theories of sustainability and makes them tangible in the business setting. It's a hands-on, problem-solving degree. By teaching the fundamentals of the Triple Bottom Line, graduates can immediately start helping their companies create profits, preserve the environment, and improve their surrounding communities.

  • The Facilities Manager who has to compare the costs of solar panels to clean coal to biofuels to determine not only the total currency cost but also the carbon cost
  • The Plant Manager who must manage storm water run-off in an environmentally sensitive way and also install geothermal systems that use the Earth's temperature to heat and cool the plant
  • The Human Resources Director who must look at the long-term impact of today's labor decisions on the welfare of the community
  • The Product Manager who must figure out a new paint technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions or evaluate existing packaging processes against today's sustainability standards

A Curriculum Tailored by Some of the Country’s Most Innovative Green Companies

The Sustainable Management degree was crafted in close partnership with the companies that are leading the way in sustainability such as Johnson Controls, Ford Motor Company, Eastman Kodak, Quad Graphics, FedEx, SC Johnson, Kohl’s, Veolia Environmental Services and Modine Manufacturing.

"Johnson Controls continually seeks highly qualified, educated and skilled individuals to fill a number of key positions, and we look to the University of Wisconsin System to help educate and train the residents of the state,” said Judith Mouton, Education Program Manager, Renewable Energy Solutions at Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Johnson Controls. “I have reviewed a draft of the curriculum and believe that the knowledge and competencies that students gain from this degree will be useful in the ever-growing sustainability job market."

“There’s a clear connection between education level and economic stability,” said UW-Extension Dean David Schejbal. “We knew we needed 21st century degrees that prepared students to make a positive impact on the state while moving their own careers forward. That’s what the Sustainable Management degree does. And we’re the first major university to offer undergraduate students this option.”

To Gregory P. Trudeau, Chair of the Department of Business and Economics at the University of Wisconsin - Superior, this degree couldn’t come at a better time. He said, “Those of us who remember the '70s oil crunch and the green movement it spawned are glad to see these issues coming up again." Trudeau added, “But this time we realize the problem is wider and deeper – and the interest at the corporate level is unprecedented. The reality is that green is here to stay. And we’re answering with the skills our business partners need.”

The 21-course, 63-credit degree is unique in that it’s the first online degree to combine the full resources of four nationally recognized campuses with a minimal carbon footprint and the personal flexibility that online learning has always offered. Courses are available and accessible wherever there's an Internet connection. Classes begin Fall 2009. For more information or to complete an application, visit http://sustain.wisconsin.edu.

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