Recently Patch sat down with Eric Gribin, Director of NCC's Building Efficiency and Sustainable Technology "BEST" Program.
Though the acronym is long, the program's popularity has grown and students are being trained for and finding green building jobs.
The BEST program came to life about four years ago, as a result of ARRA, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Fast forward four years, and the program has taken hold, which is at least in part due to the leadership of program director Gribin, who collaborates and networks with employers, discovering what they need and working backward from there.
"I can't churn these folks out fast enough," exclaimed Gribin. "We train students in practical ways in four key areas: sustainable building, energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate change."
"He busts his butt for us," said Andrew Baumer, who is set to complete the BEST program in December. Describing Gribin, Baumer continued, "He works with employers and really cares."
"You can't just train people without talking to employers," said Gribin. "We make sure we have the employers onboard first."
"Initially the purpose of BEST was for career changers, out-of-work professionals looking for a way to get back into the workforce," Gribin said. "I've had people from every walk of life come through. We've had homemakers, marketing people, engineers, architects, construction professionals – even investors."
The BEST program is comprised of 8 courses totaling 26 college credits, which can be completed in two semesters.
"BEST can be completed full time, in one year, from September to May and be done," Gribin said.
Courses start with Engineering 101, building technology, blue print reading and alternative and renewable energy in the first semester. The second semester is comprised of environmental science, building efficiency auditing, sustainable energy for residence and businesses and environmental systems.
BEWT Stands for Boot Camp
NCC also offers a free 5-week boot camp called "BEWT" which is a feeder to the BEST program.
BEWT stands for Building Energy Worker Training, and according to Gribin, "It is a very rich 5-week boot camp."
Free for those who test in, and paid for by a Dept. of Labor grant, the boot camp is custom-designed to incorporate basics.
"They're getting math for building science. And the readings and locating information classes use readings about climate change and renewable energy for their exercises...Plus, they get specials, free tutoring, access to an online learning platform and that's how we monitor their progress. And we had a very successful boot camp this summer with 21 students participating."
Successful BEWT boot camp participants receive a certificate. Afterward they may choose to progress to the BEST program.
For information on BEWT, the accelerated, targeted program that prepares students for the developmental math and communication skills they will need to perform multiple jobs in weatherization, home performance and sustainable building, click on the NCC BEWT link.
The NCC website also has more on the BEST program. For questions on the BEST programs call (203) 857-7345 or email Gribin at EGribin@ncc.commnet.edu