Atlantic Technical Center (Coconut Creek) and Sheridan Technical Center (Hollywood) are offering some of Broward’s low-income residents opportunities to train for jobs in green energy fields, including photovoltaic (electrical); solar thermal (plumbing and water); wind turbine and weatherization.
The programs are the result of the combined efforts of the District, the Broward Alliance Green Think Tank, the Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of Broward County and Broward Minority Builders who sought and received two stimulus grants from the Department of Labor – Pathways Out of Poverty and Energy Training Partnership (President Obama’s Energy Stimulus Training Dollars). Workforce training dollars also played an important role in establishing the program at the two centers.
The objectives of the program are job placement and job retention or advancement in energy efficiency or energy generation fields. Experts from all fields in the green energy sector were consulted as the program was developed.
The two centers are now the most comprehensive and well-equipped green workforce training facilities in the southeastern United States. Sheridan staff members pitched-in to do all the conversion work necessary to convert that center’s old welding lab into a green energy lab. Solar panels on the roof over the energy lab provide power for the entire building. The center held an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 22 that was attended by District officials.
Training began in the two centers last summer and, to date, 300 students, selected by OIC to take part have completed the 200-hour program. OIC has reported job placements or retentions of nearly 100 graduates. OIC continues to offer placement services to the remaining students.
Although the program is currently only available to those placed by OIC, it is expected the program will open to the general public early next year as a 600-hour program, with certificates awarded upon completion.
It is the intention of both the centers and grant partners to use the grants received as seed programs for a continuing effort of evolving curricula to meet the future energy needs of the region.
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