Congressman John P. Murtha (PA-12) announced today that the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded a $2,732,719 federal stimulus grant to the Private Industry Council (PIC) of Westmoreland/Fayette to expand job training services in Westmoreland and Fayette Counties.
The funding, part of the "Pathways Out of Poverty' federal grant program, will support green job training and evaluation projects aimed at teaching workers the skills required in high growth and emerging industries, particularly in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The Private Industry Council has identified three major industries for job training programs in response to preliminary research on green occupational growth in Pennsylvania. These programs include the energy-efficient building, construction, and retrofit industries; the renewable electric power industry; and the energy efficiency assessment industry servicing residential, commercial, or industrial sectors. The program will integrate basic skills and work-readiness training with occupational skills training, combined with support services.
The Private Industry Council has partnered with several key stakeholders for the administration of the project. These stakeholders will combine to create the Fay-West United Green Alliance, an advisory board with the mission to create a vibrant and productive green economy, taking full advantage what the region has to offer and building capacity to serve industry stakeholders as well as prospective workers. The program will serve a total of 250 participants.
"The Private Industry Council does a marvelous job of providing career training and workforce development services to residents in Westmoreland and Fayette Counties," commented Murtha. "This federal stimulus grant will expand upon these successful efforts, and prepare our local workforce to be proficient and competitive in the green energy jobs of the future."
"With the increase in unemployment figures, it is imperative that we develop the skills necessary for green energy jobs," said Tim Yurcisin, president of the Private Industry Council. "New technologies and the Marcellus Shale rush provide hope for a strong future for Fayette County. We applaud Congressman Murtha and the Department of Labor for their vision to bring this program to our area."
"These "Pathways Out of Poverty' grants will help workers in disadvantaged communities gain access to the good, safe and prosperous jobs of the 21st Century green economy," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Green jobs present tremendous opportunities for people who have the core skills and competencies needed in such well-paying and rapidly growing industries as energy efficiency and renewable energy."
Murtha announced last October that the Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette was awarded $322,575 in federal stimulus funds to increase the number of pre-school aged children served by local Head Start programs in Fayette County.
Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in February of 2009. The PIC obtained this funding through a competitive RFP process, and was one of only 38 grants awarded nationally.