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New Training Programs Offer Job Corps Students a Bright Future

In 2010, Job Corps added new advanced training programs to take advantage of growing green technology industries. Four of these programs, Solar Photovoltaic (PV) and Thermal System Installer, Smart Meter Technician, Overhead Line Construction, and Underground Residential Distribution, began enrolling students late last year, and the first graduates should complete their training later this year.

Research into growing industries and future employment opportunities shows that these new programs will make Job Corps graduates even more attractive to employers in the coming years.

Areas of growth include the electrical and solar industries with smart grid technology and solar energy. According to an article from “The Americans for Energy Leadership,” a national smart grid could add $15 billion to $20 billion per year to the U.S. economy by 2020. Additionally, a $100 billion investment could create nearly 2 million jobs during tough economic times.

According to CleanEnergyAuthority.com, the solar industry celebrated huge growth in 2010, particularly solar photovoltaic (PV) energy production, and the future looks even brighter. “With industry growth has come job growth. We had the first-ever solar jobs census this year, and there are more than 93,000 workers in the solar industry. In fact, so many new green jobs are being created that there is some concern there won't be enough skilled people to fill them,” reads the article.

The article also states that the United States has a lot of work to do to train the workforce for these new green collar jobs. Job Corps has created the four new training programs (Solar PV and Thermal Installer, Overhead Line Construction, Underground Residential Distribution, Smart Meter Technician) to fit emerging needs by providing technology-savvy workers in the electrical and solar industries.

The advanced training Job Corps students are receiving in these fields will equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to enter the workforce with a competitive advantage. These new programs are just getting off the ground at the Gary, Oneonta, Treasure Island, and Gainesville Job Corps Centers.

Job Corps has also added Weatherization Technician and Electronic Health Record Specialist training programs to its list of career areas in order to provide a variety of green training opportunities to students.

Job Corps students will earn Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) credentials, and all necessary tools of the new trade. The new training programs were made possible by ARRA funds.