IBEW members throughout the United States are among those who will benefit from the announcement on Jan. 6 by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis of the release of nearly $100 million in renewable energy training grants.
"These grants will allow the IBEW and our industry partners to continue to lead the way in high-quality green training programs in areas like solar, wind and building automation," said International President Edwin D. Hill.
For Montana Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee Training Director Gary Pemble, supporting existing labor-management partnerships, which are already training new workers in renewable energy, makes a lot of sense on the part of federal officials. "Union apprenticeship programs have been proven time and time again to be more cost effective, have better instructors and a stronger curriculum and unlike many colleges, we get our students out on the job site starting on the first day of training."
The Montana JATC, along with a wide array of union-training centers, including bricklayers, electricians and sheet metal workers, won a $5 million grant to boost training in wind, solar and hydro power to help green the Big Sky Country and put residents back to work. The JATC represents Helena Local 233, Billings Local 532 and Kalispell Local 768.