The push for green jobs continues. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $29 million in Recovery Ac t funding for 34 weatherization training center projects in 27 states. These programs will provide crucial energy efficiency retrofitting and weatherization training to Americans seeking to get back to work or improve their current work situation.

The funding will allow eight existing weatherization training centers to expand their training programs and then allow 26 new training centers to get off the ground. After these programs are up and running, the number of DOE-funded weatherization training centers will have tripled.

Awards ranged from just over $323,000 to the maximum award amount of $1 million. Several different programs received the maximum grant award including Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock, Ark.; Century Center for Economic Opportunity in Gardena, Calif.; WorkNet Pinellas in St. Petersburg, Fla.; and Baltimore City Community College in Baltimore, Md.

Pulaski Technical College and Baltimore City Community College were just two of several community or technical colleges that received awards in this latest round of funding. This has been the trend with many green jobs training programs as community colleges are in a great position to provide not only the training for these green jobs programs but to also offer students an academic pathway to two- and even four-year degree programs.

This topic was covered recently in a report by the Workforce Strategy Center, Building Effective Green Energy Programs in Community Colleges. In the report, several roadblocks to green jobs were identified, including creating solid training programs at the community college level that foster both job and life skills in students of these programs.

The report also describes how some community colleges are successfully implementing green jobs training programs, including South Seattle Community College. The programs at this Seattle school walk students through the green jobs training programs being funded by the Recovery Act but they also set them up with an educational path to a higher degree, more advanced skills, and ultimately a better paying green job.

The funding provided by the Recovery Act is the first step for many Americans who are migrating out of low-paying, dead-end jobs and into a new career in renewable energy, energy efficiency and weatherization. This latest round of funding is helping get more of these training centers off the ground and will ultimately change the lives of those who are able to take advantage of this great opportunity.

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