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$500M in labor department grants available for green job training programs

$500M in labor department grants available for green job training programs(By Leslie Guevarra - via Reuters.com)Grant competitions opened today for $500 million in Recovery Act funds for

training programs that will help retool the U.S. workforce for a clean

energy economy.Speaking in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

announced the availability of grants in five broad program areas that will

prepare people for jobs in energy efficiency or renewable energy industries.About $150 million in grants are earmarked for green job training programs

that provide “pathways out of poverty,” and a portion of some $290 million

in grants will go toward efforts to retrain workers from the hard-hit auto

industry."These grants are an essential first step towards not just building

America's clean energy economy, but making sure that every community gets

to enjoy the benefits of that economy," Green For All CEO Phaedra

Ellis-Lamkins said in a statement provided to GreenBiz.com."Thanks to Secretary Solis, this money will ensure that the people who most

need these jobs have a chance to earn them -- low-income people, people of

color, the unemployed, and those without much formal education."Green For All was a driving force for inclusion of green job training money

in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- and for provisions to

ensure that training opportunities are extended to some of the country's

most economically disadvantaged populations.Of the $500 million designated in green job training, the Labor Department

set aside:$150 million in Pathways Out of Poverty Grants. Eligible applicants include

national nonprofit organizations that have networks of local affiliates and

other partners and local entities.$100 million in Energy Training

Partnership Grants for programs that will serve workers affected by

national energy and environmental policy, workers who need training to

update or transition their skills and the unemployed. An unspecified

portion of the funds are for projects that serve communities left stranded

by the foundering auto industry.$190 million in State Energy Sector

Partnership and Training Grants for state workforce investment boards that

are working with their state governors to devise a strategy that aligns a

workforce vision with state energy policy and green job training on local

and regional levels. A portion of this money also will be reserved for

communities affected by the auto industry meltdown.$50 million to state

employment agencies to compile labor market data on the energy efficiency

and renewable energy industries -- not only to build an information base,

but also to support jobseekers who want to pursue work in green

industries.$5 million in Green Capacity Building Grants to enable

organizations to provide training for entry-level or gateway positions.More information about the grants, eligibility and application deadlines is

available from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training

Administration and from www.grants.gov/.Green for All and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, both based in

Oakland, California, and a coalition of other green job advocates in the

region were instrumental in lobbying for the training funds and in creating

programs that could be used as models.“This is a huge victory," Green for All founder Van Jones said in

interviews and in his blog in February when Congress passed the final

version of the Recovery Act. Jones is now the special advisor for Green

Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to the White House Council on Environmental

Quality.Commenting on today’s development, Ella Baker Center spokesman Abel

Habtegeorgis told GreenBiz.com in a statement that the availability of

training grants puts the country more solidly "on the path towards a

cleaner, greener, more equitable America."“This is a crucial step in the right direction as we continue to work to

move this country from a pollutant-based economy -- th