Illinois residents struggling to build green-industry careers in the wake of the financial collapse and recession might soon be receiving help. College of Lake County, in the far northeastern suburbs of Chicago, said it will receive $5.9 million as part of a $19.37 million federal “Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant” going to 17 partnering members of the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN).
The IGEN colleges will serve as centers of training, assistance and education in areas hit hard by layoffs and where jobs have been relocated overseas. Specifically, the grant will allow the colleges to develop and enhance their training programs for jobs in the green sector, often combining online with traditional classroom formats.
The grant money will be used to support programs that offer certifications for retrofits, weatherization and conservation, as well as in renewable and sustainable energies; certification programs for wind turbine and solar technicians; and certification in sustainable landscaping and agriculture. Most of the programs provide an Associates in Applied Sciences degree, and will be offered throughout the IGEN.
The award to the IGEN is part of a larger system of federal grants, totaling $500 million, being implemented and administered by the Department of Labor for the Department of Education, aimed at funding job training and workforce development for those looking to change careers after experiencing layoffs or lack of available jobs. A list of all 32 grant award winners is available online.