Although the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was passed in 2009, 2010 has been a busy year for the ARRA. In early January, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced that $100 million in green jobs training grants was awarded including a $28 million award to help retrain displaced autoworkers. Last week, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $80 million in grant funding for advanced biofuels research. Today, Secy. Solis is back with the announcement of $190 million in State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grants.
This funding is aimed to train workers for jobs in energy efficiency and the renewable energy sector. According to the Department of Labor, these industries have already received $440 million in investments since the start of 2010.
A total of 34 awards were made to organizations in 34 different states. These awards ranged from $2 million to $6 million. This $190 million is part of the $500 million that the ARRA set aside for energy efficiency job training.
As with most of the other green jobs training grants provided through Recovery Act funding, this latest round of funding is aimed at providing job training to certain underserved communities. The specific communities served depends on the organization receiving the funding but include veterans, at-risk youth, underemployed individuals, individuals with disabilities, and those with a criminal history.
Michigan, which had the highest state unemployment rate in November 2009 (14.7 percent), received more than $5.8 million in funding to provide training for dislocated and incumbent workers.
California and Nevada were also in the bottom five for unemployment rates in November 2009. Both states reported an above average 12.3 percent unemployment rate but both states also received $6 million in green jobs training grants.
The California grants will help Alameda and Los Angeles counties, which were affected by the slow down of the auto industry. In addition to providing training for veterans and at-risk youth, these grants will also provide training for individuals entering the work force for the first time.
For more information on these grants or to find out if an agency in your state was funded, visit the Department of Labor website.