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'Green' training could save employers some green

February 07, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com

Local employers have an opportunity to train employees in “green” construction techniques at no cost through a $30,000 grant received by the Western Maryland Consortium, Executive Director Peter Thomas said Monday.

The grant will reimburse employers in Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties for 100 percent of the cost of training existing workers in new skills such as improving energy efficiency, electrical generation and smart grid technology, residential and commercial retrofitting, and installation and maintenance of solar photovoltaic and/or wind-powered systems, according to a Western Maryland Consortium press release.

Thomas said the grant will help participating companies become more competitive for projects requiring workers trained in green technologies while also promoting practices that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.

“I think it’s a win-win for everyone,” he said.

The aid is limited to $4,500 per trainee, Thomas said.

The funding can be used to cover the costs of trainers, tuition, books and fees, and the training can be obtained online or through a training vendor or consultant, the release said.

Thomas said he thought many local participants would obtain the training through Hagerstown Community College’s new alternative-energy program.

Any training is limited to six months in duration and must be approved before the start of training, the release said.

Priority for funding will be given to projects that result in one or more of the following: an increase in wages as a result of the training, an upgrade in job title or a promotion. None of these are required actions for approval of a project submission.

The grant funding for this program is part of the Maryland Energy Sector Partnership grant received by the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Labor through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Employers interested in submitting an application or learning more about this program may contact the local office of the Western Maryland Consortium in their respective county. The Washington County contact person is Catherine Bergeman at 301-791-3164, ext. 110.

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