Pollution Prevention Training in Technical and Vocational School Programs

November, 2002

Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming

Survey Content
Survey Recipients
Response Rate
Conclusions and Recommendations
Appendix A – Survey Instrument (pdf)
Appendix B – List of Recipients (pdf)

(Use your back button to return here after visiting a pdf file)


The Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Center is an EPA-funded project operated by the Montana State University Extension Service. The Center serves as a pollution prevention information clearinghouse for Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. In cooperation with U.S. EPA Region 8 states, Peaks to Prairies looks for ways to encourage adoption of pollution prevention practices by citizens, businesses, educational institutions and government agencies. The Center networks with state and local pollution prevention service providers by offering access to current information and contacts, encouraging collaboration and leveraging of resources, and facilitating communication about activities and projects.


A survey of vocational and technical schools in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming was conducted in the spring and summer of 2002. The purpose of the survey was to determine how waste minimization, source reduction, and pollution prevention concepts are being included in vocational training programs. We also wanted to determine how schools preferred to receive information about these topics. With the results, we hoped to publicize examples of how curriculums are currently teaching this information as well as identify opportunities for more integration. Survey results have been made available to help schools refine existing programs and identify partnerships for future collaborations.

A cover letter was sent with the survey describing the goals and explaining the role of the Peaks to Prairies Center. An incentive to complete the survey was offered in the form of an attractive pollution prevention coffee mug.

Survey recipients were given six weeks to reply to the initial request for information. Those who did not reply by that time were contacted by telephone. Either hard copy or email copies of the survey were resent upon request. The Peaks to Prairies Center continues to accept surveys.


The survey included four sections:

  1. Contact Information
  2. Definition of Terms
  3. Curriculum
  4. General Institutional Management and Organization

Section 1. Contact Information – gathers information about how to further contact the recipient if needed. It also gives them the options to keep information confidential, allow information to be written as a case study and receive results of the survey.

Section 2. Definition of Terms – defines pollution prevention and provides example and defines environmental/regulatory compliance for the purpose of this survey

Section 3. Curriculum – asks six questions with follow-up details to determine if pollution prevention and compliance information are included in the learning programs, how schools are receiving or would like to receive the information used in classes, and how curriculum changes are managed at their school.

Section 4. General Institutional Management and Organization – briefly addresses campus operations – monitoring and managing waste and technical assistance offered.

A copy of the survey instrument is included as attachment A (Links to a pdf file. Use back button to return here.)


Seventy-two public and private, nonprofit vocational and technical schools in U.S. EPA Region 8 states (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming) were identified using the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) database and list of regional tribal colleges.

Schools offered a variety of programs classified into the following twenty-five categories by NCES:

1. Ag Business and Production
2. Agricultural Sciences
3. Area Ethnic & Cultural Studies
4. Business Mgmt & Services
5. Computer & Info Sciences
6. Communications Technology
7. Cons. & Renewable Resources
8. Construction Trades
9. Education
10. Engineering-Related Tech.
11. Health Professions & Related
12. Liberal/General Studies & Humanities
13. Library Science
14. Marketing Op. & Distribution
15. Mechanics and Repairers
16. Multi-/Inter disciplinary Studies
17. Parks, Recreation, Leisure...
18. Personal & Misc. Services
19. Precision Production Trades
20. Protective Services
21. Public Admin. & Services
22. Science Technologies
23. Trans. & Material Moving
24. Visual and Performing Arts
25. Vocational Home Economics

The schools were distributed among the states as follows:

Colorado – 20
Montana – 16
North Dakota – 9
South Dakota – 9
Utah – 10
Wyoming – 8

An alphabetical list of schools contacted is included as attachment B.


This table shows a summary of responses at each step of the survey process:

Contact Mode # Contacts # Responses
# Responses
Response Rate
Initial Mailing 72 3 . 4.2%
Follow-Up Calls 69 . 14 18.8%
Follow-Up Mailing 45 3 . 6.7%
Follow-Up Emails 6 2 . 33.3%
Overall Total 72 8 13 29.2%

Of the 72 contacts in the initial mailing, one was returned undeliverable. The follow-up call explained the purpose of the survey and asked for an appropriate contact person. During follow-up calls, 13 contacts verbally responded that their institutions either did not teach pollution prevention or regulatory compliance topics, that this survey did not apply to them, or that they were not interested. Exact data was not collected for this answer. Five of the phone calls made did not result in a contact of any kind (no answer, etc.). The remaining 51 contacts requested that a follow-up survey be mailed or emailed to them as shown above.


1. Response Profile

This list shows the 21 institutions responding either verbally or with a written survey:

State Institution Response
CO Boulder College of Massage Therapy Verbal
CO Delta Montrose Area Vocational Technical Center Verbal
CO Pikes Peak Community College Verbal
CO T H Pickens Technical Center Verbal
CO Trinidad Sate Junior College Verbal
MT Chief Dull Knife College Verbal
MT Helena College of Technology Survey
MT St. Patrick Hospital School of Radiological Technology Verbal
MT St. Vincent Health Care Survey
SD Avera Sacred Heart Hospital School of Radiological Technology Verbal
SD Lake Area Technical Institute Survey
SD Sioux Valley Hospital School of Radiological Technology Verbal
UT College of Eastern Utah Survey
UT Davis Applied Technology College Survey
UT Latter Day Saints Business College Verbal
UT Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College Verbal
UT Salt Lake Community College Skills Center Verbal
UT Snow College Survey
WY Eastern Wyoming College Survey
WY Lifelong Learning Center – Business Skills Institute Verbal
WY Northwest Community College Survey

2. Curriculum Responses

Only one respondent indicated that their institution offered a stand-alone course dealing with pollution prevention or environmental compliance.

Institution: Helena College of Technology
Course Title: Hazardous Materials
Text/Publisher: Surviving HazMat / OnGuard
Number of students who have taken the course: 100
Course first offered in: 1997 Frequency: 1/year

Seven respondents indicated that their institutions integrated pollution prevention/compliance education into standard program or class offerings. (C = certificate program, D = degree program)

Institution: Davis Applied Technical College
Program Name: Ag Business - C
Program Name: Construction Trades – C
Program Name: Transportation Trades/Technology – C
Program Name: Health Professions – C & D

Institution: Helena College of Technology
Program Name: Protective Services – D

Institution: Eastern Wyoming College
Program Name: Ag Sciences – D

Institution: Lake Area Technical Institute
Program Name: Ag Production – D
Program Name: Ag Business – D

Institution: Snow College
Program Name: Building Construction and Construction Mgmt – D

Institution: Northwest College
Program Name: Agriculture – D
Program Name: Environmental Studies – (class)

Institution: College of Eastern Utah
Program Name: Life Sciences – D
Program Name: Mining – D
Program Name: Trucking & Heavy Equipment – C

Two institutions indicated they relied on government or private partners outside the school to help teach these concepts.

Institution: Lake Area Technical Institute
Partner: Various

Institution: College of Eastern Utah
Partner: U.S. Department of Labor - Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)

Six institutions who responded by survey indicated they were interested in including pollution prevention and/or regulatory compliance concepts into their courses or in augmenting the information they already offered. Below is a summary of how they preferred to obtain this information.

  Number of respondents indicating preference
Information Source High High-Med Medium Low-Med Low
Commercial text books . . 4 . .
Government publications 1 3 2 . .
Web sites 5 1 . . .
Email list serves . 1 . 1 1
Workshops 2 . 2 . .
Conferences 2 . 2 . .
Commercial consultants . . . 2 1
Governmental/non-profit assistance providers 2 2 . . .
Combination of the above
1 1 . . .
Other . . . . .

One respondent who did not indicate a preference for any of the above methods of receiving information indicated that they used these two sources for this type of information:

On-Guard – www.onguard.com
EPA web sites and publications – www.epa.gov

Three respondents indicated they had an individual or committee generally responsible for developing, evaluating or modifying courses and course materials.

Snow College
Helena College of Technology
St. Vincent Health Care

3. General Institutional Management Responses

Six respondents indicated they had a person or office in charge of monitoring and managing waste on campus.

College of Eastern Utah
Davis Applied Technical College
Northwest College
Snow College
Helena College of Technology
St. Vincent Health Care

No respondents indicated they offered technical assistance either to school staff or the public.


Peaks to Prairies will continue to collect surveys to broaden results. Since the survey instrument is relatively short, we will initiate telephone surveys during the upcoming fiscal year to collect information by direct interview. After identifying the appropriate person to ask these questions, we will describe the purpose of the survey and tell them it will take approximately 10 minutes to complete over the phone. Participants will be able to view the written form on the web during the interview. We will add a short section at the beginning of the survey instrument as follows:

If the interviewee does not wish to participate, is it because:

  • No pollution prevention or regulatory compliance information offered
  • No interest in offering this information in coursework
  • Lack of time, perceived benefit, or other reason

It is also recommended that a question be added to find out what programs, resources and methods their faculty use to renew teaching certificates.

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