Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced Friday that Illinois has received $1.6 million in funding to help begin the state’s green jobs training program.
The funding will go to six organizations to help kick off the Urban Weatherization Initiative, which will help train people to work in the construction sector in urban communities while increasing energy efficiency and reducing the costs associated with energy use for building and homeowners. The six grants will specifically help provide energy audit training and prepare workers to receive certification that acknowledges their ability to complete energy efficiency and weatherization work. Weatherization is a cost-saving method that helps reduce energy bills for homeowners.
Gov. Quinn spoke about the importance of increasing green job training in the state and said, “As the green sector continues to grow, opportunities for people to go to work in skilled high-tech jobs increase. This funding will help prepare workers for the green jobs of tomorrow, which will help secure our long-term economic growth.”
The recipients of the first six grants are located in the Chicago, Rockford and East St. Louis areas of the state, and specifically include the City of Rockford ($250,000), Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville ($300,000), the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association ($300,000), the Local Economic & Employment Development Council, Inc ($250,000), Albany Park Community Center ($250,000) and Opportunity Advancement, Inc of Chicago ($250,000).
The UWI was specifically created under the Illinois Jobs Now program, a $31 billion capital program that has created 135,000 jobs since it was established. Additionally, the program has committed to creating 400,000 more jobs for Illinois residents over the next six years.
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Warren Ribley also commented on the initiative: “Weatherization benefits homeowners by increasing energy efficiency and helping keep their energy costs down. This initiative will provide a much needed economic boost to disadvantaged neighborhoods that will help revitalize communities and create jobs.”
Illinois has taken other major steps to help increase green jobs in the state. According to Green Energy News, in August, Gov. Quinn signed a bill into law that drastically boosted solar development projects in the state and created numerous green jobs within the solar energy sector in Illinois. The law also helped Illinois diversify its energy portfolio and announced millions in stimulus grant money to further help develop specific solar projects, including the Rockford Solar Project, which is one of the largest solar projects in the country and the largest in the Midwest region.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.