Lincoln, Pryor, Berry, Snyder, Ross Announce $4.8 Million for Green Jobs Training

Washington – U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and U.S. Representatives Marion Berry (AR-01), Vic Snyder (AR-02) and Mike Ross (AR-04) announced today that the Arkansas Workforce Investment Board/ Department of Workforce Services will receive $4,866,479 in U.S. Department of Labor grants for green jobs training for Arkansans. The funds will go toward college and apprenticeship programs that will prepare 2,800 participants for jobs in the emerging green industries.

Four counties with a significant auto industry presence—Cleburne, Desha, Greene, and Logan—will receive a portion of the funding, which will be dispersed statewide.

“We will keep our state competitive by ensuring that Arkansans have the necessary skills to take on new challenges in green technology,” Lincoln said. “I am fully committed to getting Arkansans back to work and the economy back on track.”

“The green energy sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country and the world. These funds will help Arkansans in Greene, Logan, Desha and Cleburne counties acquire the tools they need to have successful, high-demand careers and foster economic development opportunities in these communities,” Pryor said.

“A quality education is essential for a bright future,” said Berry.  “These funds will help students learn valuable skills in the new green jobs industry that will be critical for our nation’s future.  These resources will help Arkansans stay competitive in the labor market and support our economy”

“Education and training programs for clean energy jobs contributes to Arkansas’s future as a leader in the American clean energy industry,” said Snyder. “Implementing green job skill sets among Arkansans expands our work force and fosters innovative growth for the long term.”

“Green jobs are the jobs of the future.  Arkansas, with its abundance of natural resources and dedicated workforce, can easily become a national leader in this emerging global industry,” said Ross.  “Investments like these in alternative and renewable energy technology are a win-win.  They not only help reduce the price we all pay for energy and fuel, but these investments also create jobs and work to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

The funding will create three Energy Centers of Excellence that will set up programs and provide materials that will be used by 22 two-year colleges and seven apprenticeship programs throughout the state in addition to high school programs and other training workshops. Unemployed workers will be recruited for green jobs training programs, and 1,371 of the 2,800 individuals expected to participate in training programs will be placed in energy efficient occupations, according to the Department of Labor.

The U.S. Department of Labor Energy Sector Partnership and Training grants to Arkansas are part of $190 million in green jobs training announced today.