WASHIGNTON, D.C.- Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has awarded Ohio $6 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants for green job training, with a special emphasis on auto-impacted communities in Ohio.

Fifty percent (44 of 88) of Ohio’s counties are included on the U.S. DOL list of counties impacted by restructuring related to the auto industry, and 85 to 90 percent of the funds will be utilized in those counties.

“With a growing green energy industry and a strong job training infrastructure in place, Ohio is in an ideal position to maximize the impact of these resources,” Strickland said. “Targeting the grants toward areas that have been impacted by the auto industry will build on the historic strengths of Ohio workers and our communities. These ARRA grants will create opportunities for out-of-work Ohioans and help transition our manufacturing centers to take advantage of the growing new energy economy.”
"These funds will help Ohio workers train for good-paying jobs in our state’s growing clean energy industry,” Brown said. “Communities across our state have been hard-hit by the economic downturn. By ensuring that our state’s already skilled workforce is prepared for high-growth industries, we will bring the jobs of the 21st century to Ohio.”

The Governor’s Workforce Policy Advisory Board applied for the State Energy Sector Partnership (SESP) and Training Grants in October.  Grant awards ranged from $2 million to $6 million; Ohio received the maximum amount. Earlier this month, Sen. Brown wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in support of Ohio’s grant application.

The grants will make it possible to enroll 1,600 Ohioans in training, with a focus on dislocated workers, veterans, women, minorities and Appalachian residents. A projected 1,275 participants will earn industry-recognized certificates for residential energy auditing, building operator and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Ohio’s already-existing job training and education infrastructure will be utilized in administering these grants.

The grants will be used to:
•    Create an integrated system of education, training and supportive services that promotes skill attainment and career pathway development for low-income, low- skilled workers leading to employment in green industries.
•    Support states in implementing a statewide energy sector strategy including governors’ overall workforce visions, state energy policies and training activities that lead to employment in targeted industry sectors.
•    Build and strengthen partnerships dedicated to building a skilled clean energy workforce.
•    Develop new partnerships with other agencies receiving Recovery Act funds to support strategic planning and implementation efforts.

The State Energy Training Partnership grants are part of a larger Recovery Act initiative — totaling $500 million — to fund workforce development projects that promote economic growth by preparing workers for careers in the energy efficiency industries.

Additional information and today’s DOL press release can be found at HERE.