dwsnews | by jane gardner, labor market information specialist

Training Opportunities for Green Careers

Utah is emphasizing four green career sectors:

1. Alternative fuels
2. Energy management
3. Green construction
4. Renewable energy production and transmission

Green careers are critical to Utah’s continued quality of life and in diversifying Utah’s vibrant economy. Data from Utah’s Green Jobs Survey approximated 1,100 green job openings per year—which accounts for 3.3 percent of all total job openings. 

In January 2010, the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) was awarded a $4.6 million State Energy Sector Partnership (SESP) grant by the US Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.  The grant’s purpose is to support state’s roles in building a national green economy.

The project will provide no-cost training to 1,400 individuals who can obtain skills required to work in emerging energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.  Training started in January 2011 and will be provided through July 31, 2012.  Currently 202 participants are enrolled in training courses. 

Training participants work with Energy Career Development Specialists located at the schools who determine their individual needs and eligibility for the program.  The specialists also coordinate with the schools to develop class schedules and materials needed for classes and assist with job placement upon completion.

The average class length is six months and participants initially complete core training that provides the foundational skills needed for any of the specific training areas.  Core training includes energy essentials, computer skills, applied math, technical writing, and safety regulations.  Upon completion of the core training, every participant will obtain OSHA and First Aid/CPR certifications.  In the near future, core training courses will be available online.

Success Story #1: A Box Elder County participant owns a repair shop and wanted to add CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) installation to his existing services.  Not only did the training (CNG certification) increase his business revenue but the school asked him to become a CNG instructor--win for the participant and win for the program.

Success Story #2:  This summer, Utah State University-Workforce Education Division and SESP partnered to teach Navajo youth building skills.  This collaboration made it possible for the DWS Youth Employment Program to reach students in the remote location of Monument Valley and made it feasible for SESP to offer the course outside of the regular school year.  The program provided youth with an internship opportunity building octagons, which is a version of the traditional Navajo hogan.  Participants gained valuable work experience in addition to high school credit.

Upon completion of the program, training participants will have the potential to improve their earnings and be marketable in an energy sector career, obtain employment in an energy sector occupation or maintain/retain employment in their current position.  To find out if you may be eligible for the no-cost training, go to jobs.utah.gov and click on the State Energy Sector Partnership Grant link or contact Melisa Stark, DWS Program Specialist (801) 628-4051, mstark@utah.gov or Kelly Thornton, DWS Program Specialist (435) 719-2630 kthornto@utah.gov.