LCC will share in federal funds to train for 'green jobs'

By:  Erik Olson
Source: The Daily News

Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Clark counties will share a $5 million federal Department of Labor grant to train workers for new green technology jobs, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell announced Wednesday.

Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Marion, Polk, Yamhill counties in Oregon also will share the $5 million grant funds, which are directed at workers who lost jobs in renewable energy industries, said Cantwell, D-Wash.

The U.S. Department of Labor is doling out a total of $13.48 million in four states from the federal stimulus package to support green jobs, with most of it directed to Oregon and Washington, Cantwell said.

The grants will be distributed to six community colleges, including Lower Columbia College, the state's WorkSource system and other economic development groups, according to the Labor Department.

The grants will help for training in renewable electrical power, such as wind energy, and biofuel production, according to the agency.

Jim McLaughlin, Lower Columbia College president, said he's waiting to hear more details so he can see where the college can make best use of the money.

"We will try to do what we can to see if we can enhance some of our programs," McLaughlin said.

The money will be distributed through the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

The labor department said it expects the grants will pay for 1,325 people to earn certificates for green industries in Southwest Washington and Northwest Oregon.

"The funding awarded today recognizes our commitment to making clean energy a major job creator, while improving our environment and lowering consumer energy costs," Cantwell said in a written statement.