State awards $638,216 to train workers for ‘green’ jobs

May 29, 2012

From “State awards $638,216 to train workers for ‘green’ jobs” — More than $638,000 in grants aimed at training workers for “green” jobs such as building solar panels and wind turbines has been awarded by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, state officials said Friday.

At the same time, the department said it is awarding $232,500 in grants to help ensure the state has a skilled labor force for industries such as manufacturing and health care.

The green job training money is part of a $6 million U.S. Department of Labor allocation to Wisconsin in 2010 to fund its Wisconsin Sector Alliance for the Green Economy, or SAGE, project. The $638,216 award represents the latest round of funding.

In all, the three-year SAGE initiative will provide training to approximately 4,500 new and ex isting apprentices for “green” energy jobs, the department said. In addition, more than 1,000 journey workers will receive green skills training.

“As more homeowners, businesses and utilities opt for renewable energy sources, we will need skilled workers to build, install and maintain renewable energy systems,” said Reggie Newson, secretary of the Department of Workforce Development. “These grants will also help meet the need for welders. In addition, we are taking steps to make the training programs themselves more energy efficient, safe and environmentally friendly.”

Various trades

The grants fund training in six trades: carpenter, construction craft laborer, construction electrician, ironworker, sheet metal and steamfitter. Grant contracts authorize funding for curriculum, equipment and supplies, as well as training needed by the instructors for either the technical colleges or independent training agencies.

Of the $638,216, $326,420 was awarded to the apprenticeship and training trust of the Associated Builders & Contractors of Wisconsin Inc. Most of the money will be used to purchase heavy equipment and welding simulators. Apprentices will undergo computer-simulated training rather than use the more costly heavy equipment in the field. The simulators will reduce fuel costs and let apprentices safely learn basic operations before using heavy equipment at excavation work sites, the department said.

Other SAGE grants supporting training: $186,770 to Plumbers, Steamfitters, Refrigeration Workers and Service Technicians Local 434; $67,900 to Ironworkers Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee Local 8; $49,126 to Moraine Park Technical College; and $8,000 to Mid-State Technical College.

Separate grants totaling $232,500 will go to 10 regional workforce development boards, funding their efforts to develop strategies and customized training programs to meet the need for skilled workers in manufacturing, health care and other high-growth sectors, the department said.

The grants, ranging from $22,500 to $25,000, will go to workforce boards in various regions of the state.


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