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DELEG's Energy Conservation Apprenticeship Readiness Program Starts in Eight Michigan Cities of Promise $1.4 Million in Recovery Act Funds Will Prepare Workers for Green Jobs as a part of the Michigan Energy Corps

Contact: Paula Stevens 517-373-9280
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

September 2, 2009 - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced the creation of the Energy Conservation Apprenticeship Readiness (ECAR) Program., which will train individuals from underrepresented groups for apprenticeships in renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.

The program is a key component of Granholm's Michigan Energy Corps (MEC). The MEC was announced in Granholm's 2009 State of the State address and is designed to put unemployed Michigan citizens back to work reducing energy costs and cleaning up Michigan's environment.

"People residing in our eight Cities of Promise now have an opportunity to receive the training they need to work in the field of energy conservation," Granholm said. "We want to make Michigan a center for renewable energy and green jobs, and this program helps move us toward that goal."

The Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG) will use $1,396,968 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funding in support of the ECAR program, funded with Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Statewide Activities funding and Wagner-Peyser (WP). The tuition-paid, fast track, customized training will equip women, minorities and low-income individuals with the skills and certification needed to enter and succeed in energy conservation-related construction apprenticeships.

Eligible candidates will be selected from eight cities identified by the Cities of Promise Initiative that aims to redevelop these communities by reducing extreme poverty largely due to the loss of industry and jobs. The Cities of Promise are: Benton Harbor, Detroit, Flint, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Muskegon Heights, Pontiac, and Saginaw.

"We're working to turn Michigan into the leading green energy sector state in the nation, training our citizens to do the work needed to grow these emerging industries," said DELEG Director Stanley "Skip" Pruss. "The ECAR Program will provide recruitment, assessment, apprentice readiness training, basic skills remediation, and other supportive services necessary to meet the demand for workers in green jobs."

According to Pruss, DELEG worked with key partners and stakeholders in Michigan to create a Green Sector Skills Alliance that collaborated with several unions to develop the state-of-the-art ECAR Program. Pruss said these types of skills alliances bring together business, education, labor, workforce development and government leaders who share interest and expertise in a specific green sector of Michigan's economy to develop specific training programs for jobs in these industries. "Education and training are key for green employers who have emphasized the need for basics in math and reading with additional skills to be acquired on-the-job or in school depending on the precise green job in question," said Pruss. "Participants will be taking on a tough curriculum, but highly rewarding for a new career."

Participants will complete an intensive nine-week program comprised of 270 hours of training in 19 curriculum components including applied math, essential employment skills, and principles of green construction, and will earn multiple certifications including a National Career Readiness Certificate. Assessment, training, placement assistance, and follow-up and retention services will be coordinated through Michigan Works! Agencies.

"There's work to do, and a lot of it," said Pruss. "ECAR will help align our state energy strategy with the most effective and efficient use of Recovery Act funds so that all of our work is supported."

In March 2009, Governor Granholm announced Michigan will receive $76.6 million in Recovery Act funds for energy efficiency and energy conservation projects. Michigan's Green Jobs Report, the first-ever survey of its kind released in May 2009, found that Michigan businesses have already created at least 109,000 private sector green jobs; Michigan's green companies have expanded their employment by 7.7 percent; and companies that produce renewable energy have grown by 30 percent.

The Green Jobs Initiative website, www.michigan.gov/greenjobs, serves as a clearinghouse for data and information on jobs, education, and training opportunities. It also facilitates collaborative partnerships and initiatives between businesses, educational institutions, and government to better link research and development in renewable energy and conservation with the development of education and training programs for current and future jobs.

Read more releases from the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth 

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