Patrick Administration Announces Grants to Build Capacity of Clean Energy Workforce Development Programs
Funding will help to develop and expand programs at high schools, colleges and universities and community-based organizations
Created by the Green Jobs Act signed into law by Governor Patrick in August, the CEC is charged with fostering growth of the Massachusetts clean energy industry through workforce development grants such as those announced today, as well as job training programs and seed grants to companies, universities, and non-profits organizations. This grant round will fund programs designed to ensure that vocational schools, institutions of higher education, and community organizations are prepared to meet the workforce needs of the clean energy industry. Grants are financed with funds appropriated by the Legislature last year for the Massachusetts Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund.
"Governor Patrick has made expansion of the clean energy economy a top priority, and we are seeing results. In the Massachusetts solar power installation industry alone, the number of companies more than tripled in just one year," said Secretary Bowles, who chairs the CEC's board of directors. "The challenge now is to ensure that sufficient programs are in place across the state to train the growing pool of workers needed to keep up this economic momentum, and these grants will help the Commonwealth reach that goal."
Working in collaboration with the Commonwealth Corporation - a quasi-public workforce development agency affiliated with the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development - the CEC plans to award grants of $75,000 to $200,000 for proposals to enhance, expand or create programs that build the clean energy workforce development capacity of higher education institutions, vocational technical high schools and community-based organizations.
"There is a constant stream of innovation in the field of smart energy, and the Patrick administration continues to serve as a model. By working with diverse institutions such as community colleges, the vocational technical schools, and other organizations focused on learning, we will help prepare an excellent mix of people for jobs that are still evolving," said Secretary Bump.
"Among the many opportunities we are creating in the Commonwealth around clean energy, these grants will provide additional support for companies seeking well-trained, skilled workers, and will position Massachusetts as a hub for workforce education and training in the clean energy industry," CEC Interim Executive Director Pat Cloney said.
Projects eligible for funding include equipment purchased to support hands-on training, curriculum development to enhance existing courses and programs or establish ones, and professional development to improve the skills and knowledge of faculty and instructional staff.
Grant applicants must partner with at least two Massachusetts clean energy businesses, and are strongly encouraged to form partnerships with other entities experienced in workforce education and clean energy. While applicants are not required to provide matching funds, the selection process will give more weight to projects that leverage funding from additional sources.
"Green jobs are a silver lining in these otherwise difficult economic times," said Senator Karen Spilka, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. "It is particularly important that we train workers at all levels of education, from vocational technical high schools to community colleges to institutions of higher education, to take advantage of the well-paying jobs that will increasingly become available in the green economy, and that's why these grants are so worthwhile. This investment in workforce development will help keep Massachusetts globally competitive well into the future."
"Massachusetts is positioning itself to be a national leader in the green economy," Senator Benjamin B. Downing said. "These grants will ensure the clean energy industry will have no shortage of skilled workers across the Commonwealth."
Representative Daniel E. Bosley said, "These grants represent a critical cog in the development of the Commonwealth's clean energy sector. Creating a pipeline of skilled workers, through our vocational and technical schools, will greatly enhance our ability to provide developing businesses the resources they will need to grow and remain in our region for years to come."
Grant applications are due to Commonwealth Corporation by noon on July 2, 2009. Funded programs are expected to begin in late summer and last through December 2010. For more information and application materials, go to www.masscec.com, or www.commcorp.org.
In addition to the clean energy workforce grants announced today, the Green Jobs Act authorized a $1 million Pathways Out of Poverty Program, which last month resulted in EEA's award of five grants to implement "green collar" job training for low-income workers in Lowell, Worcester, Springfield, Brockton, and Pittsfield.