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Okefenokee Tech Will Benefit From DOL Grant

  Funding will provide graduates with skills for high-growth jobs in energy industry.

Atlanta – The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and the Georgia Energy and Industrial Construction Consortium (GEICC) have received $989,995 in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Labor to bolster efforts to meet the workforce needs in the state’s energy industries.

The funding will be matched with a commitment of more than $4 million in resources from GEICC members and partners, as well as state funds.

Georgia is one of only 11 states that were chosen to receive the grant under the President’s High-Growth Job Training Initiative. As one of the technical colleges in the TCSG, Okefenokee Technical College will receive approximately $52,000 as part of this initiative. 

Ultimately, the funding will produce graduates with the skills that will address a national shortage of skilled labor in the energy sector, including industrial construction crafts workers. The program’s aim will be to increase awareness of energy and industrial construction employment opportunities, enhance and expand existing energy training programs, and increase the number of underrepresented populations in skilled energy industry trades.

According to TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson, “The workforce that helps to produce and sustain energy holds the new ‘power jobs’ in this country.”  He added, “With the help of this new funding, our technical colleges can produce more graduates with the advanced skills and knowledge required to keep up with Georgia’s growing energy demands.”

The TCSG and GEICC will use the funds to recruit and train energy workers in partnership with other state and industry entities in a consortium collectively known as the ENERGE (Engaged Networking Energy Regional Georgia Education) Initiative.  The partnership includes nine state technical colleges, including Okefenokee Technical College. 

Additional partners include the Georgia Department of Education, the state Workforce Investment Board and seven local workforce investment boards, the Georgia Department of Labor, the Atlanta/North Georgia Building and Construction Trades Council/AFL-CIO, the Center for Energy Workforce Development and the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia.

Debra Howell, workforce development manager for Georgia Power Company, chairs the GEICC. “This initiative, using a statewide approach, will deliver high-impact energy and industrial construction training,” said Howell. “At the same time, we’re promoting career awareness and career opportunities to meet future workforce needs, which are imperative to our energy industries.”          

Energy sector areas targeted for expanded training programs include electric, oil, natural gas and gas pipeline, nuclear, energy generation and transmission, and energy-related construction.

Skilled trade areas in these industries include commercial carpentry, electrical control systems, electrical lineworker, electrical maintenance, commercial electrical wiring, commercial HVAC industrial mechanic and welding.

Salaries will be commensurate with skills and with market demand.



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