Wednesday, January 16, 2013

VIRTUES of a Workforce for the Next Industrial Revolution

January 2013

From L to R:  Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson,
Mary Hallisey-Hunt (SEI), Harriet Langford
(Anderson Foundation), Michael Chang (BBISS)

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation recently awarded a grant to Georgia Tech for a project called VIRTUES (Vertical Integration of Research, and Technical, Undergraduate, and graduate Education for Sustainability).  Headed by Michael Chang, Deputy Director of the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, and Mary Hallisey-Hunt, Director of Special Projects for the Strategic EnergyInstitute, the leadership team also includes faculty and administrators from Georgia Southern University and the University System of Georgia, and industry partners from across the state.
Like Georgia Tech, most universities now have sustainability initiatives that work internally with their faculty and students.  Likewise, private and public organizations have their own education and training programs related to sustainability and energy.  Each has been successful within its niche and with its own constituency, but to date there has been no direct connection between any of these programs.  As one unit of the system graduates mechanical engineers educated in sustainability and another unit produces mechanics trained in sustainability, it is often left to employers and the invisible hand of the economy to coordinate their practice and knowledge, and to fill any gaps. VIRTUES will improve the state’s workforce development capabilities by producing an educational “roadmap” for creating the type of vertically integrated workforce that is required for the “Next Industrial Revolution.”

In 2013, VIRTUES will host four workshops around the state of Georgia with the purpose of identifying gaps in the current higher educational system and needs for the future.  The workshops will invite participation from all the universities and colleges in the state, in-state private sector employers especially in manufacturing, state and regional economic development offices, and state, county, and municipal officials. 

See the Ray C. Anderson Foundation press release here.

See the Georgia Tech news story here.



Michael E. Chang, Deputy Director, Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, Georgia Institute of Technology, chang (at) gatech (dot) edu 

Mary Hallisey-Hunt, Director, Special Projects, Strategic Energy Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology, mary (dot) hunt (at) energy (dot) gatech (dot) edu 

The Brook Byers Institute forSustainable Systems enhances Georgia Tech’s research, education, and service missions, and campus operations through leadership, communications, development, and decision making inspired and defined by the principles of sustainability.  Sustainability is a core value at Georgia Tech that touches every person, action, and decision within the Institute.  Programs and projects initiated or supported by the BBISS lie at the intersections of these themes. 

The Strategic Energy Institute was established to serve as a conduit for integrating, facilitating, and enabling Institute-wide programs in energy research and development. Engaging the best and brightest from industry, government, and academia, the SEI will create innovative solutions to current and future energy challenges. 

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation was created in honor of the late Ray C. Anderson (1934-2011), founder of Interface, Inc.  During his time at Interface, Ray championed the notion of businesses doing well by doing good.  It’s these noble qualities of advancing knowledge and innovation around environmental stewardship and sustainability that recognized Ray as a pioneer in industrial ecology.  The purpose of the Foundation is to perpetuate these shared values and continue the legacy that Ray left behind. Through research and funding, the Foundation aims to help create a better world for future generations—tomorrow’s child.

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