Pulaski Technical College (PTC) and Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) will receive grants to provide job training for green jobs in energy efficiency to as many as 600 Arkansans through 60 course offerings.
Governor Mike Beebe announced the grants during a press conference last Friday at the PTC South campus in Little Rock. The grants will be administered by the Arkansas Energy Office, a division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
PTC and NWACC will each establish a Building Training Center of Excellence to train energy auditors, energy raters, weatherization workers, and workers in the heating and cooling industries. PTC received $1,231,201.99 and NWACC received $1,356,088.34.
“Arkansas has been pursuing green-energy jobs for years, and these grants will increase our available workforce in these industries,” Beebe said. “These are the types of jobs that are changing in the 21st-century economy, and we will soon have hundreds of Arkansans better prepared to pursue new opportunities in expanding career fields that embrace energy-efficiency innovations.”
The grant funds were provided by the U.S. Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Expected participants include licensed builders, licensed HVAC technicians, inspectors, instructors, code officials, building inspectors, utility personnel, consultants, weatherization workers, and associate degree candidates for some technical programs such as HVAC, and others. The Building Training Centers will work with national certification and accreditation programs on curriculum development, establishing in-house accredited trainers, and tailoring curriculum to fit Arkansas’s needs and climate.
The Building Training Centers of Excellence will reach other parts of the state through mobile training units created at each college. The two mobile training labs will be equipped with computers, software, diagnostic equipment and tool kits to offer training at partnering colleges throughout the state.
In addition to providing instruction, the grants will establish the expertise needed for conducting training throughout the state. Currently, energy-related training is dependent upon bringing certified experts into Arkansas.