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Professional Industry Courses

It is imperative that industry professionals be constantly learning in their fields and staying on top of the latest trends and updates in their regions. Penn State Center Pittsburgh provides engaging opportunities throughout the year for professionals in design, landscape architecture, infrastructure, and similar fields to attend training courses and industry events to expand their knowledge.

This fall, the Center hosted/co-hosted two impactful courses for professionals: the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP) and the Introduction to SITES workshop. These trainings provided an in-depth look at two growing industries and trends.

The Center hosts several five-week training sessions for NGICP throughout the year. NGICP certification aims to advance sustainable communities by promoting green infrastructure as an environmentally and economically beneficial stormwater management option. In the past two and a half years, more than 120 participants have completed the course.

The most recent class took place from September 18 to October 16. Participants met every Wednesday at the Center’s classroom in the Energy Innovation Center. The 35-hour course covered the design, installation, inspection, and maintenance of green stormwater infrastructure relating to the Pennsylvania Best Management Practices (PA BMP) manual. It included class lectures, field tours, and discussions about specific green stormwater issues around southwest Pennsylvania. Candidates who completed the program were prequalified to sit for the Water Environment Federation’s certification exam.

Currently, the Center supports the NGICP participation of three trainees from Landforce Pittsburgh — an organization that aims to “restore and maintain land and green assets by providing professionally skilled crews who can assist in environmental management.” Landforce crews are made up of people who have faced challenges in entering the workforce, such as former incarceration, poverty, or lack of education, or who are returning veterans or new refugees. The organization collaborates with individuals to address these barriers and work toward long-term employment opportunities.

David Himes (RLA, SITES AP) is the Sustainable Communities coordinator at Penn State Center Pittsburgh and serves as instructor of the NGICP course. In partnership with the Pittsburgh Sewer and Water Authority, David completed a program to become a certified trainer for NGICP, one of the only official trainers in the region.

Also this fall, the Center partnered with the Green Building Alliance, Chatham University, and Phipps Conservatory to host the introduction to “SITES Workshop: Understanding Preliminary Requirements for SITES Qualification.” The one-day course took place on Friday, November 1, at the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a SITES Platinum facility and one of the greenest buildings in the world.

During the workshop, nearly 20 participants explored SITES — a sustainability-focused rating system utilized by landscape architects, engineers, planners, developers, and others who assess the sustainable design, construction, and maintenance of landscapes. Workshop participants discussed prerequisites for individuals to become a accredited professionals and focused on the fundamental requirements for a project to become SITES certified. The group then toured the Phipps facility.

David co-instructed the training with Mark D’Amico, RLA, manager of Studio Phipps at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

Be sure to check our Training and Events page for upcoming courses throughout the year.