Utah to get $4.6 million green-jobs training grant

It's expected to help about 2,000 residents acquire new eco-friendly careers

Published: Thursday, Feb. 4 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

"Green" jobs in Utah will get a big boost soon, courtesy of a $4.6 million grant from the federal Recovery Act that's expected to train about 2,000 Utahns for new careers in green fields.

The target trainees will be displaced workers, disadvantaged youths and veterans, and the program will be administered through the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

"We're still working out some of the details," department spokesman Curt Stewart said Wednesday. "But we have formed a coalition" to settle details on what will be free tuition for workers training for specific types of jobs related primarily to emerging energy industries.

"We've identified several partners who provide training academies already," said Stewart.

Plans are still tentative, but Salt Lake Community College is expected to educate 1,070 people in the fields of green construction, alternative fuels, energy management and renewable energy transmission.

Between the College of Eastern Utah and the Uintah Basin Applied Technology Center, 230 slots are being created in alternative fuels, green construction and energy management.

The Southwest Technology Center will have 100 slots focused on working with wind, solar and geothermal power, Stewart said.

Davis County will also have a training program, but the details have not yet been worked out, he noted.

As for jumping right in, Stewart said the training programs "should be ready to start in about four months." Then, recruitment and selection of the students will begin in earnest.

Called a State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grant, Utah's $4.6 million is part of a third funding round, bringing the total of the green stimulus grants to about $440 million so far nationwide. Stewart said Utah's coalition includes the Department of Workforce Services, state economic development and education staff, the Utah College of Applied Technology, the AFL-CIO Utah, professional energy organizations, leaders of energy-sector employers, business owners and the state's energy adviser.

e-mail: lois@desnews.com

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