DAYTON, OH – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited the home of 73-year-old Ona Bowman today to discuss projected job creation and economic activity resulting from the weatherization program.
“The weatherization program employs Ohio workers, using Ohio products, to lower energy costs of our state’s homeowners,” said Brown. “This program is not just about reducing energy use—it’s about job creation and economic development in the Miami Valley.”
Ohio is slated to receive $267 million in economic recovery funds for the weatherization assistance program, which helps homeowners save on energy costs through insulation improvements and energy efficiency improvements.
Tim Donnellan, President & CEO of Community Action Partnership of Greater Dayton Area discussed how the new weatherization funds could increase his total number of employees by more than 20 percent.
“Community Action Partnership has already begun the process of hiring and training more workers,” Donnellan said. “The Montgomery County Job Center is helping us screen and process the applications. Though expanding the Weatherization Program is a big challenge for us, it's also an opportunity to extend the benefits for even more homes.”
Since the inception of the Weatherization Assistance Program in 1976, more than 6.2 million homes have been weatherized. Pres. Obama has a set a nationwide goal of weatherizing one million new homes each year. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides $5 billion for the weatherization program nationwide. Ohio’s allocation of $267 million for weatherization projects represents a massive increase over the $15 million the state received each year under the Bush administration.
On average, weatherization reduces heating bills by 32 percent and overall energy bills by about $350 per year. Weatherization measures also reduce national energy demand by the equivalent of 18 million barrels of oil per year.
The funds were allocated to the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). ODOD then distributes the funds to community action agencies, like the Community Action Partnership of Greater Dayton Area, to carry out the weatherization projects. ODOD also estimates that the weatherization funds in the economic recovery package will improve the energy efficiency of more than 26,000 homes across the state.
The federal funds are also expected to lead to 600 new hires at community action agencies and put another 600 Ohioans to work through contractors. In Dayton, the funds are expected to increase the Dayton workforce by at least 50 employees.
The weatherization program also results significant multiplier effects for the local economy. Weatherization crews utilize many locally produced products and services. In Dayton, the Community Action Partnership (CAP) does business with nine area heating contractors, two plumbing contractors, one electric contractor, and seven suppliers. Last year, CAP weatherized over 1,000 homes in Montgomery, Greene, Darke, Preble, Butler and Warren Counties.
Brown today also highlighted training opportunities available to Ohioans seeking to become certified in weatherization techniques. There are five weatherization training centers across Ohio—in Dayton, Athens, Akron, Fremont, and Newark.
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