$4.8M grant will train 1,000 for green-energy jobs

January 6, 2010

By Claudia Grisales
Austin American-Statesman

The Central Texas area’s green work force is getting a boost from a different kind of green.

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett announced a $4 click over here now.8 million grant Wednesday to train 1,000 local workers for jobs in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.

"Green’s the word in Austin, and today greenbacks are on their way to further strengthen our commitment to clean energy," said Doggett, D-Austin. "Green jobs have the ability to not only transform the way we do business, but re-power America; this training will provide workers with the nuts and bolts to construct a thriving clean energy economy right here in Central Texas."

The grant is a significant gain for the region’s green work force, as community and business leaders continue to eye plans to grow the sector in Central Texas, which has lost jobs in manufacturing and other key industries in the downturn.

The Central Texas plan, funded by the federal economic stimulus program, will train 1,000 workers for jobs at solar power plants in Austin and San Antonio and projects in nearby cities and states. The training will prepare workers for a variety of jobs, including in solar installation.

The grant will go to Austin’s Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, which is sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 520.

Gilbert Ferrales, training director for the JATC, said the training will provide workers with immediate employment opportunities in Central Texas.

The Austin IBEW will partner with ImagineSolar LLC, an Austin-based company that does job training for the solar energy industry, and the Austin Workforce Investment Board.

The training will begin as early as March and take place at JATC’s training facility in Southeast Austin over the following months.

"This grant represents a major step forward in developing the solar energy industry for Central Texas," said Michael Kuhn, president and chief executive of ImagineSolar.

The region got one of 25 grants totaling nearly $100 million from federal stimulus funds announced Wednesday by the Labor Department.

It’s part of a larger $500 million federal initiative to train workers for careers in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.

"Our outstanding award recipients were selected because their proposed projects will connect workers to career pathways in green industries and occupations through diverse partnerships," Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said in a statement Wednesday.

cgrisales(at)statesman.com; 912-5933

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