by Patricia Moulton, President of Vermont Technical College Vermont’s clean and “green” reputation is alive and well. Yes, Vermont is the Green Mountain State, but it is also a leader in clean energy initiatives that boosts the other “green”- our economy. The current statewide pledge of 90 percent renewable energy by 2050 is an important initiative to keep Vermont green and bring home the gr$$n to its economy!

According to the Energy Action Network’s (EAN) new progress report, clean energy jobs make up 6% of the jobs in Vermont, the highest share of any other state.[1](link is external) While the state has lost a bit of ground between 2017 and 2018, there is still a robust job market in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean transportation jobs, with even more room to grow.

At Vermont Technical College, we are fueling this sector with our graduates from a variety of programs and degrees. Our Renewable Energy bachelor’s degree prepares system designers, technicians, field operations technologist, energy project development and so much more. Architectural Engineering Technology and Architectural & Building Engineering Technology students learn about building energy assessments along with EnergyStar, LEED and other energy certifications. Their degrees prepare graduates to be leaders in NetZero/energy efficient building design and building mechanical/electrical system design and innovation.  Electrical Engineering Technology and Electromechanical Engineering Technology programs give students the background they need to lead innovation in new energy efficiency technologies in a variety of fields.  Our Continuing Education and Workforce Development Division regularly offers green trainings in a variety of areas such as weatherization, BPI professional certificates, biodiesel, hybrid and electric vehicles, solar PV, and so much more.

These students and graduates know, clean energy not only has environmental benefits, it also has financial ones for Vermont too.  According to the EAN report, the median wage for clean energy jobs in Vermont is $55,000+.[2] Jobs in electrical and related engineering technologies have a median pay in the $80,000-$90,000 range.[3] Even better, these jobs are stable and can’t be outsourced.

Vermont Tech’s 450-500 graduates every year look forward to making Vermont work and continuing to support the growth of Vermont’s economy. When we can support this vibrant, green industry, we can support our graduates staying local and building their communities in Vermont.

Further, clean energy keeps more of Vermonters’ hard-earned dollars here in Vermont to build our economy.  EAN reports that because 78% of Vermonters heat their homes with fossil fuels, $185 million more dollars left the Vermont economy instead of recirculating and growing our businesses.[4]  We spent even more on fossil fuels to drive our cars and fuel our machinery, and 78 cents of each of those dollars spent on fossil fuels left our economy. More efficient home heating and transportation keeps that money in the state supporting Vermont jobs and enterprises. As much as 2-4 times as much money stays in state when we spend it on electricity (for cars or heat pumps) and wood for advanced wood heat systems.

So while Vermont’s green environment benefits from reducing our use of fossil fuels, increasing recycling, better water quality management, and so much more. Clean, green jobs are great for our economy and our workforce as well.  “It’s not easy being green” as Kermit the Frog often opines, but it is profitable!

About President Moulton: Patricia Moulton was appointed President of Vermont Technical College by the Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees in March 2017.  Pat served as Interim President from September 2016 to March 2017.  Vermont Tech is part of the Vermont State College System and the only technical college in Vermont. Prior to joining the College, Moulton served as Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) for Governor Peter Shumlin from June 2014 to September 2016.  Immediately prior to serving as Secretary, Pat was Executive Director of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC). Prior to BDDC, Moulton was the Deputy Secretary and Director of Economic Development of ACCD.  Pat has served three other Governor’s as Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor, Chair of the Vermont Environmental Board, Commissioner of Economic Development and Deputy Commissioner of Economic Development. She has spent 35 years in the practice of economic and workforce development on the local, regional, and state levels. Pat also ran her own economic development consulting company for several years.  Pat is a graduate of the University of Vermont with a degree in Political Science. She lives in Randolph Center with her partner, James Morrill.

[2] (link is external)EAN 2018 Annual Progress report, page 21

[3](link is external) Vermont Technical college web site, electrical engineering major

[4](link is external) EAN 2018 Annual Progress report, Page 12