$3 Million in ARRA Funds will Train 4,700 Oklahomans
February 8, 2011 -- Six Oklahoma workforce training programs have been selected to receive more than $3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant monies to train more than 4,700 Oklahomans for careers in emerging “green” industries such as energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Oklahoma Project Green Director Shawna McWaters-Khalousi said the state received a $6 million stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Labor with half dedicated to training people for jobs in "green" technology.
"The really exciting news for Oklahoma is that instead of training our goal of 1,000 people, we will be able to train nearly 5,000 Oklahomans for 21st Century jobs," McWaters-Khalousi said. "With these innovative programs, we can create a pipeline of workers with the proper education to have access to quality jobs in the green economy. Many of those kinds of careers pay above the state's average wage."
The six selected programs, location, award amount and area of focus are:
1. TCC Green Training Consortium (Tulsa Community College) - $364,277
387 participants; LEED Green Associate, BPI Building Analyst, RESNET Certification, Alternative Energy, Sustainability Management, Driver Training, Waste Minimization
2. Eastern Region Green Consortium (OSU Okmulgee) – $1,272,264
1,415 participants; Advanced Energy Management, Advanced Resource Management, Distributive and SCADA Controls, Predictive Technology and Controls, Manufacturing Specialist, Advanced Manufacturing Specialist, AAS Degree
3. OK Department of Career & Technology Education Green Consortium (Career Tech Centers statewide) – $677,600
2,212 participants; NCCER Instructor Certification, NCCER Green Building Certification, LEED Green Associate, Alternative Fuels Technician, Wind Tech Level 1, Wind Tech Level 2
4. OSU-OKC Green Jobs Consortium (OSU OKC) – $373,177
300 participants; Geothermal Heating and Cooling, Smart Metering
5. Southern Oklahoma Green Jobs Consortium (East Central University) – $255,840
200 participants; LEED Green Associate, Photovoltaic Systems Technology Technician, Weatherization Unemployed Worker, Weatherization Worker Enhancement
6. Green Healthcare Training Consortium (Rose State College) - $81,107
200 participants; Green Healthcare Tools Certification, Green Healthcare Technician Certification
McWaters-Khalousi said the selected programs all were comprised of partnerships that included a state training entity, a Workforce Investment Board, and employers who will ultimately create the demand for these trained workers.
"In addition to workforce development, we are simultaneously able to support statewide energy efficiency and environmental conservation strategies and help our Oklahoma companies be more energy efficient, utilize the newest technologies and protect our great State’s environment," said McWaters-Khalousi.
Stan Greil, vice president for workforce development at Rose State College, said Oklahoma has the reputation of championing advancements in a variety of occupational and corporate sectors.
"The Oklahoma Project Green grant will be the pacesetter jobs program in 2011 and the years to follow. It will allow Rose State College to establish and implement a demonstration project that could easily green the healthcare industry in Oklahoma and through the nation," Greil said. "With the assistance of this grant, we will be able to add green healthcare jobs to our list of accomplishments."
The remainder of the DOL grant will fund various other state green initiatives, including the Center of Excellence for Energy Innovation at Tulsa Community College and the Lean and Green Institute at the University of Oklahoma.
Visit www.okcommerce.gov/greengrant for more information.
Green Collar jobs are those that have a positive influence on the environment and provide workers with a family sustaining income. They include local jobs in alternative energy, alternative transportation, energy and water conservation and efficiency, green building, material reuse, sustainable local food systems, and recycling, among others.
The Obama administration has tied green jobs to a strong middle class and in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, signed into law in February, the administration pledged $20 billion dollars for investment in a greener economy, $500 million of which is to go toward green job training. According to Vice President Joe Biden, the council of economic advisors has indicated that green jobs pay 10 to 20 percent more than other jobs. Building a new power grid, manufacturing solar panels, weathering buildings and renovating schools are a few of the ways to create high quality green jobs. That interest in green jobs is growing is apparent in the number of websites, job boards and employment blogs that focus on the green segment of the economy. A few of these include:
- www.greenjobsearch.org (a network for green workers, especially those seeking jobs in solar or wind power industries)
- www.greencollarjobs.com (a job board for jobseekers and employers seeking to fill environmentally friendly positions)
- www.greencollarblog.org (news and resources on green collar jobs)
Details about the impact of President Obama’s economic policies on Oklahoma can be found here www.whitehouse.gov/progressreports/Oklahoma.
The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, by Van Jones.