Gov. Mike Beebe (D) touted a “green” jobs program in his weekly radio address — an initiative he said has helped employ 1,700 workers during the last two years.
The program, funded by a $4.8 million U.S. Department of Labor grant, has been administered by the state’s community colleges and the Department of Workforce Services.
“The program’s ability to match so many people to jobs, especially with a struggling national economy, has been an impressive achievement,” Beebe said. “In addition to creating new jobs for those who needed them, the Arkansas Energy Sector Partnership demonstrated to the nation that Arkansans can and will respond to the workforce demands of America’s 21st-century economy.”
The program’s goal was to train workers in the specific areas of renewable electric power, energy assessment, and energy-efficient building construction and retrofitting.
The initiative had a focus to employ the long-term unemployed, high school dropouts, disadvantaged workers, and individuals living in counties notably affected by the auto-industry crisis. Also, a target for the training centered on former prisoners who had served their jail time and were transitioning back into society.
Twenty of Arkansas’ community colleges developed the curriculum. Some of the areas of training included plumbing, geothermal apprenticeship, solar heat, residential piping, and wind-powered generators. Additionally, seven new ongoing apprenticeship programs were created to prepare workers for green industry jobs that will continue to expand.
“With green industries a growing part of the job market, we are helping secure new careers for those who need jobs and bolstering the state’s economy at the same time,” Beebe said.
You can access the Governor’s full address here.