Millions in Funding Goes to Green Job Training in 7 Major Cities

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Green Job Training Workers in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington, D.C., are in luck -- The GreenWays Initiative is coming to town, and millions are being spent on the project that focuses on skills training for green jobs in four industry sectors: green construction, auto technology, manufacturing and utilities.

The initiative is funded by an $8 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) through the Green Jobs Innovation Fund. It's authorized under the Workforce Investment Act to train workers in green industry sectors. Under the Fund, DOL has awarded a total of $38 million to six organizations.

Jobs for the Future (JFF), a leading nonprofit education and workforce development organization, will leverage its expertise in green sector training to expand job training for the program. JFF will distribute over $6 million across workforce industry partnerships in the participating cities. Local green job training initiatives will be developed with significant input from area employers and designed to meet growing labor market needs.

Programs will include training in the repair and maintenance of alternative fuel vehicles, machine operation for green manufacturing, and green construction. In partnership with Wider Opportunities for Women, another leading national nonprofit, JFF will provide peer learning forums and technical assistance to each local initiative to support implementation.

"This initiative is a terrific example of how we can equip workers with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in today's job market," said Marlene B. Seltzer, president & CEO of Jobs for the Future. "These programs help create family-supporting careers and grow our economy."

Here's a list showing specific professional needs for each of the cities. Note that all positions have a green job aspect to them.

BOSTON

There is rapidly growing demand in Boston for higher skilled automotive specialty technicians (ASTs), especially hybrid technicians, due to growing local sales of hybrid-electric vehicles. There were over 750 current openings in the field as of late March, indicating a strong need even in a slow economy, and there is serious concern among employers about replacing their aging workforce.

Interviews with employers, including Sullivan Tire, Jiffy Lube, and Herb Chambers Honda confirmed a need for new and incumbent workers with hybrid technology knowledge, as well as for bilingual technicians to address the increasing linguistic diversity of their customers.

Grant amount: $860,000.

CHICAGO

The "re-shoring" by manufacturing firms in South Cook County, along with a major new federal grant that will boost manufacturing capacity, is driving a need for computer numerical control (CNC) machinists in fabricated-metal manufacturing. Employers include the Ford Motor Company.

The targeted occupations -- milling-and-turning-machine operators, quality assurance inspectors, and CNC-machine operators, machinists, and programmers -- are growing quickly, expected to increase by more than 4,000 new and replacement jobs in the next five years.

Grant amount: $856,000.

DETROIT

With many foreclosed and abandoned properties, Detroit is focused on energy -- as in efficient buildings, retrofitting, deconstruction and materials use, residential energy efficiency assessment, and other environmental services. With the growing green construction market, estimated growth within the remodeling, framing, siding, and other building sectors is at 8.7 percent over the next five years, adding over 2,000 jobs in the region.

Grant amount: $858,000.

MILWAUKEE

While auto repair is expected to decline overall, Wisconsin is expected to need 469 new and replacement automotive specialty technicians (ASTs) over the next five years, particularly as alternative fuel vehicles are added to local employer fleets (including Mitchell Airport, American Eagle, Frontier Airlines, the Air National Guard, We Energies, and the Milwaukee Department of Public Works).

Grant amount: $929,000.

PHILADELPHIA

Pennsylvania is second nationally in total solar jobs (6,700). The Smart Energy Initiative of Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEI), an energy sector partnership, estimates that 1,000 additional jobs will be created over the next three years, including areas such as solar installation and sales, and is eager to participate in an expanded program to train dislocated workers.

Grant amount: $868,000.

SEATTLE

More than 1,200 new and replacement electrician jobs are projected for the Seattle metropolitan area over the next five years. A recent Washington State Green Economy Jobs report indicates that electricians rank as the second largest green occupation, with 3,784 jobs; that's 8 percent of the total green workforce. The Poised for Profit Partnership's 2003 Smart Energy study projects that spending for smart technology in the Pacific Northwest is growing by 10 to 20 percent each year.

Grant amount: $900,000.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Data indicates that the construction industry will grow by over 4 percent in the next five years, creating hundreds of new jobs. Employers also increasingly indicate a need to retrain existing workers in green technologies, specifically weatherization and insulation, green roof maintenance, solar panel installation, green building maintenance, and green cement masonry. Additionally, helper and apprentice positions with be created with 17 construction unions.

Grant amount: $897,000.


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