Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Patrick visits Lowell job training program.

Awards also fund efforts in Worcester, Springfield, Brockton, and Pittsfield to expand the clean energy workforce by boosting skills of low-income workers

LOWELL- Wednesday, May 5, 2010 – As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state’s economic future, Governor Deval Patrick today met with participants of JYF Networks’ Weatherization Technician Training Program (WTTP), made possible by a $200,000 state grant to the company to help low-income workers in Lowell capitalize on employment opportunities in the Commonwealth’s growing clean energy sector.

The WTTP will train 40 individuals in weatherization techniques from the Greater Lowell area, providing certification in lead-safety renovation, asbestos awareness, and mold awareness and remediation, as well as skills and certification for entry-level positions as weatherization installers. Participants will receive 250 hours of training total, in addition to ongoing case management, career coaching and job placement assistance from JFY Networks.

“I love to see people learning the skills that will give them opportunities to better their lives,” said Governor Patrick. “Programs like this one operated by JFY Networks truly provide pathways out of poverty.

“Weatherization, like other forms of energy efficiency investment, is a triple win – saving money on energy bills, reducing the pollution behind climate change, and creating jobs in the local economy,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Ian Bowles. “Training like this connects people who need jobs with an industry that needs them.”

“It is because of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s support that programs like this are expanding employment opportunities across the Commonwealth and creating a skilled workforce ready to go to work in our nation-leading clean energy industry,” said Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) Executive Director Patrick Cloney.

“Thanks to Governor Patrick’s focus on clean energy and the opportunities in energy efficiency, benefits in the form of jobs are coming to the people of Massachusetts,” said JFY Networks Executive Director Gary Kaplan. “The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Conservation Services Group and UMass Lowell have played important roles in providing these 20 trainees with the skills they need to work in weatherization.”

Authorized by the Green Jobs Act signed into law by Governor Patrick in August 2008, EEA’s Pathways out of Poverty grants are designed to jumpstart training in clean energy careers for low- and moderate-income residents. As directed by the Green Jobs Act, grants are financed with funds appropriated by the Legislature for the Massachusetts Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund.

In December 2008, EEA solicited proposals for programs to serve workers with incomes at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($63,600 for family of four) in the Commonwealth’s “Gateway Communities” – former mill cities that continue to provide first homes and first jobs for new immigrants.

In addition to JFY Networks, awards of $200,000 each went to: Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester; Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, Inc. in Springfield; Massasoit Community College in Brockton; and Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield. Each awardee is partnering with local clean energy employers, community organizations, and educational institutions to deliver comprehensive job training and career growth services to workers in its target area.

In addition to authorizing Pathways out of Poverty grants, the Green Jobs Act created the MassCEC, which support workforce development, university partnerships, R&D, and clean energy entrepreneurship. MassCEC oversees Pathways out of Poverty grant-funded programs, which will run through December 2010.