Green jobs training programs from across the country have something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving – $55 million in grant funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The funds will go to programs to train individuals in underserved communities for the green jobs of today and the future.

Awards were granted in two different categories: State Labor Market Information Improvement and Green Jobs Capacity Building. The bulk of the grant money falls under the State Labor Market Information Improvement category, $48.8 million. Projects funded under this grant are designed to help individuals find a green job after completing a green jobs training program. Award values ranged from $763,000 to $4 million.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development and the Maryland Department of Labor & Industry each received $4 million in grant funding to help workers in the state find a good, green job. In October 2009, unemployment was at 9.8% in Indiana. Although it was better than the national unemployment rate of 10.2% in October, it is much higher than the state’s 6.4% unemployment rate from October 2008.

The Green Jobs Capacity Building Grants totaled $5.8 million and will allow participants in the Labor Department green training programs to expand their client base. These grants are targeted specifically at Native American communities, women, at-risk youth, and farm workers.

Several organizations received $100,000 awards in the Green Jobs Capacity Building category including the Arizona Women’s Education and Employment in Phoenix, Able-Disabled Advocacy Inc in San Diego, Women in Non Traditional Employment Roles in Los Angeles, and the Latin American Youth Center, YouthBuild Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.

Since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed, I have written several articles about the role women will play in the green jobs movement. Most of the green job employment opportunities are in traditionally male-dominated fields: solar panel installer, home weatherizer, energy auditor, etc.

However, women need to have an opportunity to gain valuable green jobs training and prepare for a new, growing career. With millions of dollars in Recovery Act funding tailored towards training women, we may begin to see more women out there in the green jobs industry.


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