C O L L E G E T O C A R E E R 13 College of the Desert’s Career Education program created a new degree, launched a Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) training trailer and acquired a mobile solar energy- generating unit. The innovative Building and Energy Systems Professional (BESP) associate degree provides students entry-level skills, knowledge, and industry-driven competencies through industry- recognized stackable credentials. The program aligns 15 energy-related career occupations to the statewide mandate for Zero Net Energy.This approach enables students to complete a single certificate, stackable certificates and/or a degree. BESP is also offered as a free, non-credit program, designed to help workers elevate skills leading to employment in the growing energy field.The BESP program is surfacing as a state and regional model, with four colleges expressing interest in similarly aligning their energy- related certificates. “We’re excited to lead the charge on this new pathway,”said Zerryl Becker, Dean of Applied Sciences and Business.“It is extremely important to provide this opportunity to our students knowing that solar panel installer jobs are expected to increase by about 10,000 over the next decade to more than 23,000.” The College’s HVAC training trailer will visit various CoachellaValley high schools. It made its maiden voyage to Amistad High School in Indio, where it trained students in those skills that are extremely important here in the desert. GRID Alternatives Inland Empire in May honored College of the Desert's Solar EnergyTraining Program with its Sunshine Award forWorkforce Development. The Sunshine Award recognizes organizations, businesses, associations, and individuals who expand access to green and clean energy careers and leadership opportunities in communities in the Riverside and San Bernardino counties region, connecting people that need good jobs with industries that need good people. College of the Desert's Solar EnergyTraining Program was honored for training hundreds of local residents in solar energy installation and providing them the knowledge and resources to be successful in the fast-growing solar industry. GRID officials said such efforts exemplify the spirit of the award. Career Education Launches New Degree, Mobile Training Unit Jon Caffery, project director for Proposition 39 Grant/Energize Colleges, speaks at an energy career event with the renewable energy FOLDRZ unit in the background. Among the tools the program now uses is a FOLDRZ mobile solar energy-generating unit that will be used on-campus and off-campus for sustainability education programs and to recruit prospective students. The remotely-controlled mobile contraption has the ability to generate, store and distribute power to critical operations and for special events. "We are proud to showcase our commitment to sustainability and renewables with this innovative and flexible technology,”said Jon Caffery, project director for Proposition 39 Grant/Energize Colleges.“It'll help our Career Education students immensely to provide them with hands-on training in a real-world environment."