Santa Monica College, in collaboration with the California Works Alliance, officially launched “Jobs Through Recycling,” its new recycling and resource management job-training program, Wednesday, Jan. 26.

The program, which provides job training in the high-growth, high-demand field of resource management, began earlier this month with its first group of 100 students.

By June, those students will be awarded industry certificates in recycling and resource management from the California Resource Recovery Association, a key partner in the California Works Alliance, said an SMC spokesman.

The Jobs Through Recycling program is funded by a $4.87-million Community-Based Job Training Grant awarded last year by the U.S. Department of Labor.

“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for SMC to work with some of the nation’s most experienced and passionate leaders in the field of zero waste in creating a highly skilled and prepared workforce in resource management,” said Genevieve Bertone, SMC’s sustainability coordination project manager.

Bertone said Jobs Through Recycling is expected to train and certify 660 students in the field of recycling and resource management and will place more than 400 highly skilled professionals in green jobs with upward mobility.

She noted that the recycling industry is as large as the automobile industry in America, and that 25 percent of all green jobs in California are in recycling.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates was the featured speaker for the kickoff.

SMC officials say the recycling program adds to the college’s achievements in sustainability, including designing and constructing sustainable buildings, launching the Solar Photovoltaic installers training program, and allocating funds for energy efficiency and solar energy projects. The college has also instituted a Zero Waste Events policy, and created the Global Citizenship Initiative, which includes an ecological literacy component.

In the area of recycling, SMC diverts 75 percent of its waste, officials said.

In addition to the certificate program, SMC has worked collaboratively with two other colleges, Irvine Valley and Golden West in Orange County, to develop a for-credit program in recycling and resource management. That program – believed to be the first of its kind – will be launched this fall and will provide students with a state-approved certificate as well as offer them the option to transfer to a four-year university, said Bertone.