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Richland CC Launches BioFuels Program

Richland Community College in Decatur, IL has launched a new biofuels track as part of its engineering technology program. The new offering is intended to help retrain and supplement victims of recent area industrial market layoffs.

"Richland is committed to providing educational opportunities that prepare our students for careers that leverage and build on the core strengths of our economic region," said Douglas Brauer, VP of Economic Development and Innovative Workforce Solutions at the college. "We are putting together programs to give our students portable skills based on knowledge and expertise that can link them to many industries. Our new biofuels course is an example that we feel offers tremendous near and long term opportunities."

Richland is a member of the Illinois Community College Sustainability Network, a consortium of institutions dedicated to developing training for what it calls "the new energy economy."

David Bowman, who teaches horticulture and agriculture, is developing the new curricula, using the book, Alcohol Can Be A Gas, by David Blume, executive director of the International Institute for Ecological Agriculture. "With over 3,000 recent layoffs in our community, Richland is focused on finding ways to quickly augment and repurpose existent skills," said Bowman. "Over the next few terms I envision Richland offering accredited courses that will lead to two- and four-year degree programs and that will plug a highly skilled workforce right back into this dynamic agriculture and industry community.

Bowman's current course centers on three lecture and two lab classes a week and will provide course graduates with credits toward their elected degree program and a certification of completion for workforce participants.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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