A 2011 analysis, conducted by the San Diego County of Governments’ (SANDAG) economic bureau, reports that for the algae sector alone, the industry currently provides the San Diego region with:
With increasing pressure on fossil fuels and the movement to develop clean, renewable alternative energy, the biofuels sector is set to grow at an impressive pace. The EDGE Initiative was developed with funding from the California Department of Labor to develop and provide training programs to anticipate the growth of the biofuels and industrial biotechnology sectors.
Based on the Biofuels Science Technician Certificate offered through the CA Department of Labor funded Educating and Developing workers for the Green Economy (EDGE) grant, Cal-CAB and UCSD Extension have developed two Specialized Certificates in Biofuels: the Biofuels Science Certificate and the Biofuels Processes Certificate.
The Biofuels Science Certificate is a hybrid program with lecture courses completed online, followed by intensive laboratory courses completed at the UCSD campus over 4 weeks during summer. It is aimed at training professionals for field and laboratory roles in the growing biofuels industry. It provides students hands-on technical knowledge and experience in laboratory techniques used in biomass production, analysis and processing. Students choose from one of the following specialization tracks: Molecular Biology, Aquatic Microbiology, or Analytical Chemistry.
For students not living in San Diego, a limited amount of discounted on-campus housing with dining plans are available for the summer lab courses. UCSD Extension can also assist foreign students with visa issues and discounted on-campus housing for the summer lab courses.
The Biofuels Processes certificate program is a fully online program that provides students with comprehensive view of the landscape of biofuels research and production, analysis and downstream processing, as well as project management skills. It is aimed at training professionals for roles in the growing biofuels industry in project management, business development or other support roles not requiring direct, hands-on experience with the experimental techniques used in biofuels research and biomass production.
For further information on these certificates, please visit the UCSD Extension website. If you have additional questions, please contact Angeline Yang email@example.com at UCSD Extension. For further information on the EDGE Initiative, please contact Wendy Stegman firstname.lastname@example.org at Cal-CAB.
There are a few different options available for financial assistance for these Certificate programs:
Scholarships: The Legler Benbough Foundation has generously provided Cal-CAB with a grant to provide EDGE students with partial scholarships. This is the last round of scholarship applications, with funding for 3-4 scholarships remaining. Scholarships will cover up to 50% of tuition. This round of applications closes December 1 (please disregard the March 2013 date currently listed). To apply, submit an online application through the UCSD Extension website.
UCSD LAUNCH Program: Active UCSD undergraduate juniors and seniors have the opportunity to receive grant money to cover most course fees for most specialized and professional certificates that Extension offer, including the Biofuels Certificates. Applications usually open in February and November each year. Information about the application process can be found on the UCSD Extension website.
WIA Funding: The federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) offers a comprehensive range of workforce development activities through statewide and local organizations. UC San Diego Extension is one of California's Eligible Training Providers. WIA funds for approved training programs can be available to unemployed or underemployed individuals who qualify. The Biofuels Processes Certificate is eligible to receive Individual Training Accounts through WIA Title I-B funds. Eligible jobseekers can receive up to $3480 to pay for the cost of the Biofuels Processes Certificate program. For more information, visit the California EDD WIA webpage. UCSD Extension is currently in the process of getting the Biofuels Science Certificate approved for WIA funding.
In 2010, the Educating and Developing workers for the Green Economy (EDGE) Initiative was formed as a public-private partnership that included: San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, UCSD, CleanTECH San Diego, BIOCOM, the BIOCOM Institute, San Diego Regional EDC, Imperial Valley EDC, San Diego Workforce Partnership, UCSD Extension, San Diego State University, and MiraCosta College. With a Green Innovation Challenge grant from the California Department of Labor from 2010-2012, EDGE developed and provided free education, training and placement services in the growing biofuels/industrial biotechnology industry to unemployed and incumbent workers within San Diego and the Imperial Valley. Program curriculum was carefully constructed with input from industry partners to ensure that these sectors needs are met with highly skilled workers.
Programs created included:
Biofuels Science Technician Certificate: Tracks - Biological/Biofuels Lab Technician, Microbiological/Crop Management, Biofuels Analytical Chemist at UCSD Extension providing hands-on technical knowledge and experience in biofuels production, analysis and processing required to excel in a management-level biofuels career. This certificate has been revised for 2013.
Biomass Production Training Certificate: Certificate at MiraCosta College providing a foundation in the technologies employed by biotechnology companies engaged in the production of microalgal biomass for biofuels and other applications for biomass production careers.
Industrial Biotech Immersion Program: Online certificate program developed by the BIOCOM Institute using industry driven curriculum to give individuals the business acumen and soft skills needed to successfully transition into industrial biotech careers.
Paid Internships: The EDGE Internship program provided opportunities to work in the rapidly emerging biofuels/industrial biotechnology industry. New internships are not available at this time.
Advanced Training in Biofuels Production Certificate (Masters of Advanced Studies): UCSD-based M.A.S., will prepare advanced degree holders to assume responsibility for important research in the growing biofuels industry. Development currently on hold.
EDGE Grant Outcomes
From thousands of letters of interest and roughly 500 applicants, we were able to not to only fully develop the above training programs, but we were also able to train over 300 participants. Outcomes at the end of the grant period (as of 9/17/12) are listed below.
|All EDGE Training Programs||Biofuels Science Technician Certificate|
|Participants now employed or accepted to graduate school as of September 17, 2012||110||40|