Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Portland-Salem-Vancouver Area Receives $5 Million Grant for Green Jobs

Worksystems was part of a bi-state application for grant funding from the Department of Labor to support job training programs that help dislocated workers, veterans, women, and people of color find jobs in expanding green industries and related occupations. We received word today that our application was one of 25 chosen for funding!

Partners in the project include the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP), Sheet Metal Workers Local 16, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Dist. No 24, Northwest Oregon Labor Council, Energy Trust of Oregon, Enterprise for Employment and Education, Workforce Investment Council of Clackamas County, SW Washington Workforce Development Council, the Oregon/Washington bi-state WorkSource system, and also includes six community colleges and economic development partners from throughout the region.

The project – called Renewable Northwest (ReNW) - will preserve and create over 1,700 jobs in the renewable energy industry (electric power and biofuels) by building a skilled workforce to support companies that generate power and by assisting local manufacturers with retraining their workforce to produce products in support of the industry. Participants will earn certificates and degrees which meet industry and state-defined standards.

Training will begin immediately for workers in occupational and technical skills needed for green jobs already identified as “in demand.” At the same time, OMEP will conduct an analysis of the skills and production requirements of the renewable energy industry and identify those manufacturers deemed to be good candidates (with employee training) to develop/manufacture new product lines to support the industry. We are very excited about this approach and believe that it will help to support and develop the renewable energy industry, create and preserve jobs, and provide training to connect people to the opportunities.

Over 37 companies have expressed interest in participating in the ReNW project, and have projected 775 new jobs over the next two years. Interested companies include SolarWorld, Renewable Energy Composite Systems, Miles Fiberglass, SANYO, and GK Machine.

Stay tuned for updates on our progress!

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