U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao has announced the awarding of $10 million to fund 11 projects that will provide potential workers with skills-based job training to enter careers in the energy industry.
"These grants awarded under the President's High Growth Job Training Initiative will help equip workers with skills and certifications that are in demand in the energy sector," said Secretary Chao.
Proposed training strategies will focus on skills and competencies that are in demand by the energy industry and offer participants pathways to long-term careers. Programs also will result in industry-recognized degrees or licenses proving a level of competence or mastery in a given job.
"Today's awards will address shortages of skilled workers and, more importantly, offer them the opportunity to enter good-paying jobs in this vital field," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Brent R. Orrell.
The energy industry accounts for four percent of the nation's gross domestic product and employs more than one million workers nationwide. Impending retirements and low numbers of new workers entering energy-related careers have created a need for innovative training strategies. Energy industry growth is being held back by a shortage of skilled trade and construction workers who are needed to build new infrastructure, install equipment, operate facilities and make repairs to existing systems.
Projects that won funding are located in these 11 states: California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Their awards range from $394,933 to $1,151,287. Today's awardees were chosen from among 171 candidates entering a competitive solicitation for grant applications that opened on Jan. 23, 2008.