SME and Purdue University collaborate to offer Green Manufacturing Specialist Certificate

To correct the perception that green jobs will only be found related to renewable energy—think solar panel installer or the wind turbine technician—the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and Purdue University note that there are also numerous green manufacturing jobs that are ideal for manufacturing workers with the proper skills.
October 1, 2009

To correct the perception that green jobs will only be found related to renewable energy—think solar panel installer or the wind turbine technician—the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and Purdue University note that there are also numerous green manufacturing jobs that are ideal for manufacturing workers with the proper skills.

Citing instances such as an existing manufacturing worker in the aerospace industry who has skills in composites that can almost seamlessly transfer to making wind turbines, Kris Nasiatka, certification manager at SME, said: “These types of jobs are ultimately good news for a former auto machinist, welder or fabricator with in-demand skills, but who may need additional training to meet requirements for green manufacturing jobs.”

To help pave the way for those with specialized manufacturing skills looking to add sustainability topics to their body of knowledge, SME is collaborating with Purdue University’s Technical Assistance Program (TAP) to develop the Green Manufacturing Specialist Certificate.

The Purdue TAP curriculum focuses on such topics as sustainable manufacturing, energy efficiency, water conservation, reuse and recycling, designing for the environment, and how different pollutants affect the environment.

The program came together as part of a U.S. Department of Labor funded program in North Central Indiana. “Our goal was to provide training that would help people become more effective in their existing jobs or help them transition to jobs with new companies in emerging green industries,” said Ethan Rogers, manager energy efficiency services, Purdue University TAP.

And while there are other green programs available, Rogers said, “No other program offers validation that a student has a comprehensive understanding of the many topics that comprise sustainable manufacturing.”

This partnership involves SME developing an accompanying exam or outcome-based assessment, which will be tested by participants in the Purdue TAP green work force training program. Upon successful testing in Indiana, SME plans to offer the exam nationwide.

Beyond a broad course of study, the Green Certificate is said to also offer varying levels of learning intensity.

“The generalist level is intended to provide awareness, while the specialist level is intended to create project champions who have a more comprehensive body of knowledge,” said Rogers. “Upon completion of the six specialist modules, they are ready to sit for the SME exam and earn an SME certificate.”