Published: December 17, 2009 | 1:01 AM
Douglas Branch, 24, is a soon-to-be Job Corps graduate from McKinney, Texas. Branch has been at Gary Job Corps Center since July 2009 and will graduate from the HVAC career technical training area this month. He plans to continue his education at Texas State Technical College in January. As one of Job Corps' first green graduates, he took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to tell us a little bit about what going green means to him and his thoughts on Job Corps' green focus.
Q: Do you think your green training will help you be more successful in your career?
A: Yes, I feel that with the changing economy, the green techniques we're learning on center will be applied in all industries; and if they're not, they need to be. Having these training opportunities on center will be nothing but beneficial to me and my career goals.
Q: Can you tell me about anything you are doing to help Gary Job Corps go green?
A: Our projects include a recycling program on center called Yo! Recycle! We have put up several bins around the center with this slogan. The staff has also cut down on bus and van transportation and put a new emphasis on walking. We are also are trying to conserve chemicals in trades like mine.
Q: Does Gary Job Corps Center have any other special center projects that promote a green culture?
A: We are trying to start more green programs and figure out what projects would be a good fit for our center. We're still in the brainstorming stage and hope to soon begin applying green tactics and educating students and staff members on being green.
Q: What kinds of things have you learned in your career technical training area that demonstrate an emphasis on the environment and conservation?
A: We are placing an emphasis on protecting the environment and keeping HVAC up to code. Also, our instructors are making sure all of our materials are handled properly, especially the chemicals. There is a new push in all trades to be conscious of the environment and the proper disposal of chemicals.
Q: Are students aware and excited about the addition of the new green TARs? A: Everyone is aware of the new addition of the green TARs. A few months ago new training books were introduced to the students so we would be aware of the added requirements. The overall consensus is that they know it's more work, but they understand it is only to benefit themselves and their experience level. Education never stops. Constantly learning new ways of doing things makes learning even better. Especially in the last two months, you can tell there's a push to be more green in all aspects of Job Corps.
Q: Do you plan to use the new “green” knowledge you have learned at Job Corps and apply it to your future career?
A: Yes, I plan to continue to work toward my degree to implement change and green practices in my life.
Q: What types of things can students do every day to show that they are committed to being green?
A: I am a member of the PCA, the Panther Club Association, which has a budget dedicated to implementing green initiatives. Right now we are recycling, cutting down on driving and even giving students ponchos for walking in the rain. We are also working on composting our food waste.
If you have news to share about your center and want to be featured in a center spotlight, please e-mail OJC.ARRA@dol.gov.