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Elizabeth Perez-Halperin, an assistant instructor in the online Professional Certificate in Green Energy Management program through San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies, was recently honored at a White House Champion of Change event as a Veteran Advancing Clean Energy and Climate Security.“When I was at the White House, I mentioned teaching at San Diego State. I think that was important to say. One of the things we are pushing is education,” said Perez-Halperin, founder/CEO at GC Green, a general contracting firm providing veteran-based workforce and construction solutions for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.Perez-Halperin, a member of the North Folk Mono Indian tribe, said she began by speaking in her native language when she addressed the White House audience.“Part of what I said in my native language is that everything is connected,” she said. “In my journey, I’m finding that everything is coming together full circle.”Perez-Halperin spent more than eight years in the United States Navy as an aviation logistics specialist. Her father was a 20-year U.S. Army veteran.Today, she co-owns GC Green with her husband Rick Halperin, who will teach two classes in the online green energy management program at SDSU during the upcoming spring semester. She is on the sustainability advisory board at SDSU’s College of Extended Studies and also helps her husband recruit students, especially veterans — as well as design the class curriculum.GC Green focuses on developing a competent trained workforce of skilled subcontractors and connecting those resources with projects and opportunities for veterans. The company actively participates in developing and implementing training programs especially for transitioning veterans and for out of work or under-employed veterans.
It then engages with outreach and marketing to prospective project developers and large institutions to let them know the benefit of investing both in the green industry and veterans. “San Diego has a high percentage of veterans,” Perez-Halperin said. “We want to put them to work. If we don’t have projects for them, we absolutely promote both our veterans and students at San Diego State to other companies.”
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