Two hundred struggling DeKalb County residents could find themselves in new “green” jobs through a federal program.
Goodwill Industries International will partner with DeKalb County to train south county residents for jobs in areas such as weatherization, construction and solar energy.
“These grants will help workers in our communities gain access to jobs of the future,” u.s. Rep. Hank Johnson, D- GA 4th District, said in a statement. “And the valuable training they receive can help them out of poverty and promote self-sufficiency through employment in renewable energy industries.”
The program is paid for with a federal grant authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed last year, President Barack Obama’s response to the recessionary economy. Goodwill Industries of North Georgia will use about $1 million to provide job training and placement for residents who are chronically unemployed, including those with disabilities, older workers, the homeless and high school dropouts.
Once placed, the workers will be supported by Goodwill and its local partners to help them retain their jobs and advance within their chosen industry along clear career pathways.
Local institutions partnering in the effort include DeKalb Technical College, DeKalb Workforce Development, St. Philip AME Church, the Housing Authority of DeKalb County and Southface Energy Institute.
DeKalb Technical College officials were still determining Jan. 22 how they fit in with the program.
“We’re still exploring the possibility of how we might be involved with this at this point,” college spokesman Corey Thompson said. “We don’t really have any formal plan or know much about the plan.”
The local initiative is part of a larger, $150 million grant program announced this month by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. The DeKalb County grant was one of 38 nationwide. The labor department encouraged applicants to focus efforts in communities located within areas where poverty rates were 15 percent or higher. All applicants were required to have experience serving economically disadvantaged populations.
Two types of organizations were eligible for the grant: national nonprofit entities with networks of local affiliates, coalition members or other established partners; or local entities including nonprofit organizations, such as community and faith-based organizations, the public workforce investment system, the education and training community, labor organizations, and employer and industry-related organizations.
The $150 million grant program is part of a larger White House-endorsed, $500 million initiative to improve the economy by growing energy efficiency industries.