On Tuesday, January 26, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced a $4 million federal grant awarded to the Consortium for Worker Education (CWE). The grant establishes the “Center for Environmental Workforce Training”, a program that will prepare Bronx residents to work in the growing “green” jobs marketplace.

The participants of the program will take part in job training focused on the emerging energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. Initially, all participants will be required to take CWE’s Sustainable Mechanical and Retrofitting Technologies (SMaRT) employment fundamentals and a basic environmental literacy course to become familiar with the opportunities and skills required in the identified training sectors.

“This grant is great news for The Bronx. With this new training center we are taking a big step toward becoming the ‘greenest’ borough in New York City. Through this program more than 400 residents will be prepared to work in the growing field of energy efficiency,” said Borough President Diaz. “It will not only train our residents but also will help us in the tough fight against unemployment.”

The program will provide training and education services for 425 participants and of those who receive a degree or certificate, 297 will be placed in training related employment. The plan is design to serve residents with limited English proficiency, veterans and eligible spouses, persons with criminal records, disconnected youth, and women.

“The Consortium for Worker Education, along with our not-for profit partners, is delighted to be working with the BOEDC and the Bronx Borough President’s office as we announce this award. This partnership has been granted $4 million by the United State Department of Labor to train and place three hundred local residents as workers in skilled jobs, while making the Bronx a national leader in green industries, energy efficiency and sustainability,” said Joe McDermott, Executive Director.

The grant is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Pathways Out of Poverty Grants, signed into law by the President Barack Obama to preserve and create jobs, promote the nation’s economic recovery, and assist those most impacted by the recession. The purpose of these grants, which fund both green job training and evaluation projects, is to teach workers the skills required in high growth and emerging industries, including energy efficiency and renewable energy.