New Bedford, MA -- Many gathered at Bristol Community College’s (BCC) New Bedford Green Center (200 Union Street, New Bedford) on Thursday, July 15, in support of the 12 students graduating from The Stepping Stone Program, one of the first green jobs training programs offered at BCC.

BCC’s Stepping Stone program was developed through funding by the Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board, Inc. (WIB) and partnerships with New Directions Southcoast, Inc.; the Greater New Bedford Career Center; the Wareham Career Center; and UMass Dartmouth. The program provides a comprehensive learning experience to prepare participants to succeed in performing energy efficient construction and operating or supporting energy efficient construction related businesses. The curriculum emphasizes three key content areas: Residential Weatherization and Energy Auditing, Business and Entrepreneurship, and Work Readiness Career Coaching. These three areas provide a foundation from which participants can pursue several employment opportunities.

“The Stepping Stone Program focuses on workforce development, business entrepreneurship, and sustainable technologies,” stated Dr. John J. Sbrega, BCC President. “Through this and our other green programs, we are contributing to the expansion of our local economy and knowledge base.”

During the eight-week program which began in May 2010, participants completed nine different classes, which included both field and classroom experiences. Over the course of the program, the students worked collaboratively to come up with a Home Weatherization business plan, and many of the students plan to work together now that their coursework is complete.

“We are at a crucial point in history where we need to look to alternative energy options and training to improve our local economy and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Through green jobs programs like the Stepping Stone Program, we are meeting the demand,” said Mayor Scott W. Lang.

The remaining three Stepping Stone classes will begin at the end of August and will continue through mid-March. For more information regarding the Stepping Stone Program, please contact Julia Gold at Julia.Gold@bristolcc.edu or at 508-678-2811 x2565.

Back row left to right:

Jonathan Veenstra
Eric Desrosiers
Robert Mixer
Wes Sahlin
Roger Yopp
N.E. Andrade
Jonathan DaCosta
Walter Grant
Mayor Scott W. Lang
Craig Baker

Front row, left to right:

John J. Sprega, PhD., President of BCC
Carmen Aguilar, Dean of the Center for Workforce and Community Education
Spencer Osborne
Gary Arruda
Carlos Dias
Anthony D'Antoni
Julia Gold