The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas
Green Job Training Center Coming To Fayetteville
By Skip Descant
THE MORNING NEWS
FAYETTEVILLE — Fayetteville will be a site for a green collar job training center, the mayor announced Tuesday.
"This is a huge thing for us, to be able to train workers for these green jobs," Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan said.
Two training centers will be located in the state, as part of a U.S. Department of Energy grant. One will be administered by NorthWest Arkansas Community College. The other will be run by Pulaski Technical College in Little Rock.
The programs will train energy auditors, energy raters and weatherization professionals.
"We were fortunate that federal stimulus dollars are available for these types of things," said Karen Minkel, director of strategic planning and internal consulting for the city of Fayetteville, speaking at a summer meeting of the Fayetteville Forward Economic Accountability Council, Green Economy Group. At the time, the group was charged with brainstorming a range of green job creation options. The training center idea was still in its infancy.
The $1.3 million grant going to the community college is not intended for bricks and mortar facilities, but is intended to develop curriculum, officials said.
Some courses will be offered at the Bentonville campus, but a majority will likely be taught at a Fayetteville location, Jordan said.
"Though we don't know where just yet," Jordan said. "That's part of the negotiations that still have to happen."
Numerous details are yet to be worked out about the center.
Fayetteville hopes that being a recipient of the energy grant positions it to also receive a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to pay tuition costs.
"You see, that's real important. If you're unemployed in south Fayetteville, there's a good chance you can't afford these types of things, and this labor grant could help," Jordan said.
The project is a months-long coordinated effort among Fayetteville, NWACC, the University of Arkansas and the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. It represents a central theme to the kinds of jobs Jordan wants to see formed in Northwest Arkansas.
"I truly believe that we would not have it in Fayetteville if he had not pulled everyone together," said Don Marr, Jordan's chief of staff.