willie-logan_web.jpgOPA-LOCKA — The U.S. Department of Labor recently awarded a $2.6 million grant to a group of partner organizations to provide training for in-demand “green” jobs.

The partnership involves the LIUNA Training Fund  of Laborer’s International Union of North America, the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC) and its subsidiary Jamii Builders, South Florida Workforce and the Local Laborer’s Union 1652.

An announcement said the money, which is coming from the Green Jobs Innovation program, will pay for the training of at least 40 people in two sessions per year for three years to provide them with skills enabling them to gain “green” jobs.

The trainees will learn skills in ‘green’ construction and weatherization.  After training, they will qualify for LIUNA Apprenticeship programs and jobs that provide career growth opportunities.

“As the job market rebounds and the demand for construction jobs increases, we have a real opportunity through this training grant to recruit and train new workers,” Willie Logan, president and CEO of OLCDC, said in the statement. “The need for people with skills in ‘green’ construction is only going to increase in demand in the coming years.”

Denise Mincey-Mills, vice president of business development and training at Jamii Builders, said the program will help boost the overall talent pool in ‘green’ jobs which, she said, represent the future of construction.

“These are more than just temporary jobs; they are well-paying careers that will create a lifetime of opportunity for the graduates of these programs,” Mincey-Mills said.

The statement said LIUNA and the OLCDC recently collaborated on a jointly funded pilot residential construction program. The first 41 graduates of the program received their certificates during a graduation ceremony in Opa-locka on July 15.

Many of the graduates are getting jobs with local contractors on a redevelopment project in Opa-locka’s Magnolia North neighborhood also known as “The Triangle.”

The OLCDC-led project will renovate 83 houses in Magnolia North, Bunche Park and Rainbow Park.  After it ends, members of this first graduating class will move to other union construction jobs, the statement said.

The number of graduates who got jobs was not stated.

The $2.6 million recently is part of a larger $5.5 million grant announced on June 22 to the LIUNA Training and Education Fund by the U.S. Department of Labor. The overall three-year grant will also fund energy efficiency and “green” construction training in Cincinnati, New Orleans, New York City, Long Island, Newburgh, and Albany/Schenectady, New York.