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Training Program Focused on Energy Efficiency Launches At Job Corps Centers

With winter weather settling in, high heating bills have many people thinking about energy efficiency in their homes this year. 

Three Job Corps centers have begun offering students a new Weatherization Technician advanced training program that focuses primarily on energy efficiency. The program teaches students with a construction background green skills that will make them more employable in the workforce.

The Weatherization Technician advanced training program launched at the Potomac Job Corps Center, the Detroit Job Corps Center, and the Pittsburgh Job Corps Center on Oct. 1, 2010. To qualify, students are required to have completed the Electrical, Facilities Maintenance, Plumbing, Carpentry, or Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) career technical training programs.

"We've already been out in the community meeting with employer partners, and we've found that graduates from this program will be in high demand," said Jeffrey Barton, center director of the Potomac Job Corps Center. "Our top priority is to make sure our students receive the most cutting-edge training and skills to be successful, and thanks to the Recovery Act funds, we're able to add an additional career technical training program that supports this goal."

Lasting approximately 4 months, the new program teaches students weatherization building science, methods to identify air leakage and other building-efficiency weaknesses, ducting, and venting. The program also prepares students to receive the Residential Building Envelope Accessible Areas Air Leakage Control Installer certification offered by the Building Performance Institute (BPI).

The Potomac Job Corps Center, which was awarded $76,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to launch the Weatherization Technician program, has hired an instructor and purchased new materials for the new program. Fifteen slots are available to interested students at Potomac, and several students have already enrolled in the program.

Potomac has also developed a relationship with Capitol Energy Group, a Washington, D.C.- based employer specializing in weatherization techniques. Capitol Energy Group played a valuable role in the addition of this new program by offering advice on training guidelines and expressing interest in hiring Job Corps graduates from the program.

"Partnering with Job Corps is a great move for our business," said Norman Jones, president and CEO of Capitol Energy Group. "As a weatherization company, we're always looking for skilled employees in this field, and now thanks to Job Corps and its new Weatherization Technician program, we'll have access to a pool of graduates already trained and ready to go to work for us."