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Community Colleges Take Federal Grant For Green Job Training

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — When the economy goes dry, many people need training for new careers, and a $19 million federal grant is coming to Illinois for training in green jobs.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, the grant is being issued to the Illinois Green Energy Network, a project of the state’s 39 community colleges.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports


Jerry Weber, the president of the College of Lake County, chairs the network.

More than 40 years after Dustin Hoffman’s Benjamin Braddock character was advised to get into plastics, his present-day counterpart might instead be advised to look into sustainability.

College of Lake County spokeswoman Evelyn Schiele says the training for displaced and lower-skilled workers for green jobs recalls the 1980s, “when PCs came in, (community colleges) did a lot of the training in preparing people to work in a non-mainframe environment.”

The training will be for such industries as architecture and construction science, technology, engineering and mathematics; agriculture, food and natural resources; information technology; manufacturing; transportation; distribution and logistics.

Schiele says the more interest people have in modernization, the more need there will be for trained workers.

“People still have to know what they can do to make their buildings incorporate green technologies, and the savings that can be achieved long-term,” Schiele said. “It might be a shorter-term additional cost, but long-term in saving in heating costs that one can recoup those initial investments.”

The state’s community colleges have formed the Illinois Green Energy Network to share the spoils of, for example, what the federal grant will provide.

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