Gov. Ritter applauds $1M grant for weatherization jobs

Gov. Bill Ritter on June 4, 2010, praised the nearly $1 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand and improve weatherization job training in the state. The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) won the grant as part of a competitive process through the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Weatherization helps families save money and reduce their energy consumption,” said Gov. Ritter. “This grant will help build our workforce to meet the increased demands for energy efficient services. The growth of the weatherization program shows that Colorado’s New Energy Economy is growing strong and helping our economy recover quicker and stronger.” 

The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) in partnership with Saturn Resources Management Inc. will use the grant funds to establish certificate programs with Red Rocks Community College and Pueblo Community College to deliver trainings through a combination of online, classroom and field teaching methods with a goal of training 460 workers in various components of weatherization in Colorado.

“A well-trained workforce will be a crucial part of America’s clean energy economy in the years ahead,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. “These investments in efficiency training programs will help build a foundation for long-term growth in America. Energy efficiency improves the competitiveness of our economy, benefits the environment, and puts Americans back to work.”

The GEO has been using Recovery Act funds to significantly ramp up work to assist low-income households by weatherizing homes and making them more energy efficient. The work lowers energy bills for those who most need the help, creates jobs, conserves energy and reduces pollution.

The additional weatherization work has significantly increased the need for well-trained workers to assist GEO’s 11 partner agencies in providing these services. This $963,130 grant will ensure current and future workers are well-trained to high standards. It will also cultivate local trainer experts inside the community college system and build a curriculum beyond the grant timeframe.

Colorado’s proposal was one of 34 in 27 states to receive a share of $29 million in DOE funding. This funding will support the expansion of 8 existing weatherization training centers and the establishment of 26 new training centers, more than tripling the number of DOE-funded weatherization training centers nationally. The 34 programs announced today will significantly expand access to weatherization training, while improving the quality and consistency of training nationwide.  These investments will continue to build on the Obama administration’s efforts to expand the green workforce and build a self-sustaining energy retrofit industry that creates high-quality jobs, while improving the environment and saving energy. 

Colorado expects to receive at least $7.1 billion in Recovery Act funds over the next year or so. More information can be found at www.colorado.gov/recovery.