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Weatherization Training Booms in the Buckeye State

September 9, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio - While many job sectors are suffering losses these days, other businesses are booming in the Buckeye State. Niki Morris, manager of the Ohio Weatherization Training Center, says in the past year, stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped them train more than 1,000 workers in cutting-edge techniques to reduce energy costs in homes and small businesses.

Increased demand for weatherization services is creating a need for workers, she explains.

"These are jobs that are easily learned. We can train folks quickly, we can certify them and they can be eligible to work in utility programs, in the weatherization program."

Morris also points out that the center is training workers from all walks of life, including minorities and women.

"It is certainly a skillset that women can attain, and we are seeing more and more of that, both in the inspector-auditor positions and the crew installer level, too. We're seeing some females get into that. It's great."

The training is required for all weatherization workers hired with stimulus money to ensure they are qualified. The Ohio Weatherization Training Center is also training workers from the private sector, which Morris says shows the increased interest in this line of work.

"We're really trying to expand workforce development in the state of Ohio and use our years of expertise to get this training to people who maybe want to look at a new, green-collar type of business model for their contracting work."

Morris says they are using stimulus funds to expand and create an infrastructure to train weatherization workers in all four corners of the state. And with Ohio considered a leader in weatherization, Morris says it could mean business from other states. A total of $267 million in stimulus money was set aside for weatherization programs in Ohio.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH