Boston — June 27
Jobs for the Future (JFF), a nonprofit education and workforce development organization, will leverage its expertise in green sector training to expand job training for workers in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. The project — The GreenWays Initiative — will focus on skills training for green jobs in four industry sectors: green construction, auto technology, manufacturing and utilities.
The initiative is funded by an $8 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) through the Green Jobs Innovation Fund, authorized under the Workforce Investment Act to train workers in green industry sectors. Under the fund, DOL has awarded a total of $38 million to six organizations. JFF will distribute more than $6 million across workforce industry partnerships in the participating cities. Local green job training initiatives will be developed with input from area employers and designed to meet growing labor market needs.
Programs will include training in repair and maintenance of alternative fuel vehicles, machine operation for green manufacturing, and green construction. In partnership with Wider Opportunities for Women, another leading national nonprofit, JFF will provide peer learning forums and technical assistance to each local initiative to support implementation.
“This initiative is a terrific example of how we can equip workers with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in today’s job market,” said Marlene B. Seltzer, president and CEO of Jobs for the Future. “These programs help create family-supporting careers and grow our economy.”
Participating City Profiles and Grant Awards
There is growing demand in Boston for higher skilled automotive specialty technicians (ASTs), especially hybrid technicians, due to growing local sales of hybrid-electric vehicles. There were more than 750 current openings in late March, indicating a strong need even in a slow economy, and there is serious concern among employers about replacing their aging workforce. Interviews with employers, including Sullivan Tire, Jiffy Lube, and Herb Chambers Honda conducted by the Partnership for Automotive Career Education (PACE), confirmed a need for new and incumbent workers with hybrid technology knowledge and for bilingual technicians to address the increasing linguistic diversity of their customers. Grant amount: $860,000.
The “re-shoring” by manufacturing firms in South Cook County, plus a major new federal grant that will boost manufacturing capacity, is driving a need for computer numerical control (CNC) machinists in small and large fabricated metal manufacturing employers, including Ford Motor Co. The targeted occupations — milling and turning machine operators, quality assurance inspectors, and CNC machine operators, machinists and programmers — are growing quickly, expecting to add more than 4,000 new and replacement jobs in the next five years. Grant amount: $856,000.
With many foreclosed and abandoned properties, Detroit is focused on energy-efficient building, retrofitting, deconstruction and materials use, residential energy efficiency assessing and other environmental services. With the growing green construction market, estimated growth within the remodeling, framing, siding and other building sectors is at 8.7 percent during the next five years, adding more than 2,000 jobs in the region. Grant amount: $858,000.
While auto repair is expected to decline overall, Wisconsin is expected to need 469 new and replacement automotive specialty technicians (ASTs) during the next five years, particularly as alternative fuel vehicles are added to local employer fleets (including Mitchell Airport, American Eagle, Frontier Airlines, the Air National Guard, We Energies, and the Milwaukee Department of Public Works). Grant amount: $929,000.
Pennsylvania is second nationally in total solar jobs (6,700). Smart Energy Initiative of Southeastern PA (SEI), an energy sector partnership, projects 1,000 additional jobs will be created during the next three years, including in solar installation and sales, and is eager to participate in an expanded program to train dislocated workers. Grant amount: $868,000.
Projections during the next five years indicate more than 1,200 new and replacement jobs for electricians in the Seattle metropolitan area. A recent Washington State Green Economy Jobs report indicates that electricians rank as the second largest green occupation with 3,784 jobs; 8 percent of the total green workforce. The Poised for Profit Partnership’s 2003 Smart Energy study projects that spending for smart technology in the Pacific Northwest is growing by 10 to 20 percent each year. Grant amount: $900,000.
Data indicate that the construction industry will grow more than 4 percent in the next five years, creating hundreds of new jobs. Employers also increasingly indicate a need to retrain existing workers in green technologies, specifically weatherization and insulation, green roof maintenance, solar panel installation, green building maintenance, green cement masonry, and helper and apprentice positions with 17 construction unions. Grant amount: $897,000.
Source: Jobs for the Future