Federal green’ to pay for green job training
U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said Wednesday the grants will teach workers the skills required in emerging industries, including energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The grants, part of the federal stimulus package, set aside $25 million for specific communities affected by troubles in the auto manufacturing sector.
A Department of Labor fact sheet says the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development will get $6 million to fund the Sector Alliance for Green Economics, commonly referred to as SAGE. The SAGE project is designed to provide green skills training in construction, manufacturing and smart grid utility occupations in the energy sector.
The state will create new apprenticeship programs such as weatherization technician, energy auditor and wastewater treatment plant operator. It will enhance several others.
In a news release, the Department of Labor specifically said the $6 million will serve the “auto-impacted counties” of Rock and Green.
But a Department of Workforce Development spokesman said the funding will be statewide and include Rock, Kenosha and Wisconsin’s 70 other counties.
Bob Borremans, executive director of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, said it’s unclear how much money Rock County will get. The area also will get a local coordinator for the project.
Borremans said the county competed on its own for the federal grants, but the state chose to submit the statewide program instead.
In its fact sheet, the Department of Labor lists 15 partners involved in Wisconsin. Only one—the Wisconsin Technical College System—has any significant ties to Rock County. Most of the partners are strongly rooted in the Milwaukee area.