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Green job funds coming to New Mexico community colleges

Not all students have the means or good fortune of attending a four-year institution. To that end, community colleges are a place of learning ideal for individuals on tight budgets in search of more academic opportunities.

The Obama administration is continuing its pledge to reach out to these higher education institutions in New Mexico with a $2 million grant to three community colleges to focus on green jobs training as part of the the State Energy Sector Partnership Program (SESP), a three year, six-million dollar bundle of funds established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Here’s the story from New Mexico Business Weekly:

The grant, funded through a $6 million award from the U.S. Department of Labor will allow Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari, Central New Mexico Community College and Santa Fe Community College to expand or develop occupational training programs in the wind, solar biofuels, green building and energy efficiency sectors.

Those colleges have been designated “centers of excellence” by Workforce Solutions. They will develop statewide green training programs for their local communities, and for other communities through a “train-the-trainer” approach that will help other New Mexico colleges set up energy-related curricula and courses, said Workforce Solutions Secretary Celina Bussey in a news release.

“The centers of excellence will assist in meeting the training needs for these emerging industries in New Mexico,” Bussey said. “The green energy curricula will be available statewide and will bring training to the areas where the work is taking place.”

Targeting New Mexico for green jobs training could not only good stimulus, say some economists, but targets an industry that’s growing in the Land of Enlightenment.

The solar industry alone employs nearly 100,000 workers, and New Mexico is near the top of the list of where green jobs can be found.

The New Mexico Independent previously reported on several large solar panel farms slated to offer thousands living wages.

The New Mexico state government operates a website where job seekers can link up with green employers, which can be found here. The site includes a listing of colleges that offer green jobs training, as well.

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