Sustainability, Electrical Vehicles (EV), solar, wind, charging stations, renewable energy, technology, innovation, and investment, all these words represent a shifting landscape around the way the world functions with a new emphasis on ways to live that are cleaner, more efficient, and innovative. With a rapid push towards new and sustainable trades and equipment, we are experiencing a fast and exciting new industrial revolution. Saint Paul College students can be front and center by actively engaging in this sustainable future through our programs.

According to Lightcast, a global leader in labor market analytics, green energy workforce needs are expected to grow approximately 15% higher than the national average. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ( ranks Minnesota 9th for its overall energy efficiency programs. Existing college programs, including electrical technology and construction-related fields, will infuse clean energy concepts within the modified curriculum. Saint Paul College is proactively partnering with local stakeholders, including Ramsey County, the City of Saint Paul, Rondo community leaders, and energy business leaders like Xcel Energy, to meet the anticipated demands of this growing new industry.

Saint Paul College offers “Introduction to Renewable Energy,” a 2-credit course on renewable energy systems and resources such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal. Topics include photovoltaic cells, solar panels, arrays, and learning about the effectiveness of various renewable energy systems. We are adding an Electric Vehicle course to our Automotive Services program in 2025, and exploratory conversations have started about adding programs and grants to support the addition of semiconductors and charging stations. This new class is the first of our intentional steps toward creating Environmental Justice and Sustainable Energy coursework and programming. Other programs that currently teach renewable energy concepts include:

The Trade and Tech Department has added the following renewable energy equipment to its portfolio as teaching tools for these programs:

  • A Hybrid Toyota Prius C vehicle to help students train on hybrid components and safety.
  • Hybrid Chevy Volt: students can train on a new Chevy Volt hybrid vehicle that drives on electric power with a Range Extender Gas engine.
  • Solar Power & Installation: we have added new kits that teach students how to use endlessly renewable solar power to create hydrogen fuel from water and learn the workings of a renewable energy system from start to finish.

There is a buzz on campus as college leaders, staff, and faculty are passionate about contributing towards a sustainable future with more programs and services on the way. In fact, Saint Paul College leadership will be speaking on “Starting Sustainable Energy Programs at an Urban Community College” at the National Career Tech Vision Conference in Phoenix, AZ later this year, with more than 6,000 industry leaders anticipated at this event.

To uplift historically underserved communities, Xcel Energy has awarded fifty $1,000 in student scholarships for low-income students enrolled in these energy-related programs. Find out more at SPC Scholarships.