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Earth Day Blue Economy & Climate Action Pathways (BECAP) Conference Launches Groundbreaking Collaboration
[April 22, 2024]

Earth Day Blue Economy & Climate Action Pathways (BECAP) Conference Launches Groundbreaking Collaboration

Santa Monica College, in partnership with the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, AltaSea, and their partners, hosted the inaugural Blue Economy & Climate Action Pathways (BECAP) Kickoff and Conference on Friday, April 19. This visionary collaboration is the first of its kind between the consortia of 13 colleges for Blue Economy workforce development in Los Angeles.

Superintendent and President of Santa Monica College Dr. Kathryn Jeffery was joined by Dr. Luis Dorado, President of Los Angeles Harbor College; Dr. James Limbaugh, President of West Los Angeles College; Stephen Cheung, President & CEO of LAEDC; Jenny Krusoe, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of AltaSea; and more. Project partners include Los Angeles Regional Consortium (LARC), Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), and the Center for Climate Futures.

"The BECAP project is a leading example of how we can build community resilience to these transformations by providing pathways to good jobs in areas of aquaculture, offshore energy, and clean coastal transport and logistics," said California Community Colleges Chancellor Dr. Sonya Christian. "Our strategic plan Vision 2030 calls for our California community colleges to play a key role in providing equitable educational and workforce development opportunities that respond to the real-time demands of climate change. Together, we're building a better future for students while championing the preservation of our climate and planet for generations to come."

BECAP directly aligns academia with industry to create timely, meaningful impact. The project aims to meet the emerging employment demands in ocean-related labor markets that are aligned with climate action and environmental justice priorities. According to OECD, many ocean-basd industries have the potential to outperform the growth of the global economy as a whole. By 2030, the Blue Economy is projected to more than double its contribution to global value added, reaching over $3 trillion. In Los Angeles County, LAEDC reports that the Blue Economy directly employs over 100,000 workers and generates over $13 billion in regional output.

Through a $1.1 million grant from Los Angeles Regional Consortium (LARC), the BECAP project will close the workforce gap with curriculum and new program development, faculty and professional development, and the generation of a BECAP College to Career pathway. Career training education opportunities include Regenerative Aquaculture, Ocean Renewable Energy & Clean Air, Blue Tech & Underwater Robotics, and Ecosystems Conservation and Restoration.

"The BECAP conference was a confluence of a partnership in which Santa Monica College is tremendously proud to have engaged," said SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery. "SMC's new aquaculture certificate has been developed to meet a local workforce need, help move the needle in combating climate change, and impact the lives of our students by providing them the means to transform their future. It is a true win-win - for California community college students, the Blue Economy, Los Angeles, and for the planet!"

AltaSea, the world's largest ocean research and development institute, provides a direct bridge to emerging Blue Economy businesses and the job opportunities that they will create. Promising results have already been generated through the partnerships. In 2022, Santa Monica College and AltaSea created an aquaculture certificate program to provide a new career pathway in the blue economy. The program has brought internships and job opportunities to students at multiple organizations, including Holdfast Aquaculture based at AltaSea.

"It is critically important to develop programs like this to ensure our next generation has a pathway to good-paying jobs," said AltaSea President and CEO Terry Tamminen. "BECAP will connect community colleges with emerging businesses that are working on solutions to our most pressing problems. BECAP can serve as a model that can be used anywhere to help continue the blue economy's rapid growth."

More information: BECAP Conference Website

Editor's note: Photos and videos from the event can be found here.

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