The Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) of Philadelphia Inc. opened a new solar training facility last November and Bucks County Community College followed in April.
Walter Yakabosky, director of training for ECA said the increasing demand for solar training is enormous. ECA has recently put 600 people through its training program. About 180 of them were new recruits looking for jobs in this rapidly growing sector. The rest were already employed.
ECA also is training 140 people this year to perform energy audits, which determine what should be done to make a building energy efficient.
In another program, it has teamed up with BASF to train people to apply a film for insulating roofs and a reflective coating for roofs made by the German chemical giant.
“We will become the mid-Atlantic training center for all of their contractors who buy their product and install it in homes,” Yakabosky said.
Bucks County Community College received $631,000 in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the Green Jobs Academy it opened in Bristol. The academy will use the money, which came through a grant the college won from the U.S. Department of Energy, to train workers to do weatherization and retrofitting.
The academy also received $315,000 of ARRA money from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry for programs to train veterans for green jobs in renewable energy, pollution prevention and energy efficiency. That program currently has 12 people in its electrical and photovoltaic solar training apprenticeship program.
Spanish wind-turbine maker Gamesa Corporación Tecnológica of Fairless Hills will base the U.S. branch of its new corporate university at the academy.
Other partners in the academy include AE Polysilicon Corp., which makes silicon for solar-energy panels at its Fairless Hills headquarters, and Dow Chemical Co., which has a plant adjacent to the academy.
The Community College of Philadelphia received a $3.18 million Pathways out of Poverty grant from stimulus funding provided to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The college used the money to set up its Job Ready Training program, which has two tracks: a green-manufacturing track, which runs 10 weeks and trains 150 people; and a construction/weatherization track, which runs seven weeks and trains 100 people