Pulaski Technical College today received a $1.2 million grant to serve as one of the state's two Centers of Excellence to provide job training for green jobs in energy efficiency.
Gov. Mike Beebe announced the grants today during a news conference at Pulaski Tech's Little Rock-South site.
Pulaski Tech received $1.2 million, and NorthWest Arkansas Community College received $1.3 million.
Both colleges will each establish a Building Training Center of Excellence to train energy auditors, energy raters, weatherization workers, and workers in the heating and cooling industries. As many as 600 Arkansans are expected to receive training through 60 course offerings.
Expected participants include licensed builders, licensed HVAC technicians, inspectors, instructors, code officials, building inspectors, utility personnel, consultants, weatherization workers, and associate degree candidates for some technical programs such as HVAC and others.
"Arkansas has been pursuing green-energy jobs for years, and these grants will increase our available workforce in these industries," Gov. Beebe said. "These are the types of jobs that are changing in the 21st-century economy, and we will soon have hundreds of Arkansans better prepared to pursue new opportunities in expanding career fields that embrace energy-efficiency innovations."
The grant funds were provided by the U.S. Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grants will be administered by the Arkansas Energy Office, a division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
"Pulaski Technical College is proud to be one of the state's Centers of Excellence," said Dr. Dan F. Bakke, PTC college president. "This project combines the mission of the college to promote economic growth by increasing the employability of our students with the lofty goal of doing so in an environmentally sustainable way. These jobs address the long-term challenges of lowering the country's dependence on fossil fuels while helping people with their immediate need to lower their energy bills in trying economic times. This is a classic 'win-win' scenario."
See a photo album from the event here.