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Unemployed Seek Training For 'green Collar' Jobs

TERENCE CHEA

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) ¿ As the economy sheds jobs, community colleges across the country are reporting a surge of unemployed workers enrolling in courses that offer training for "green-collar" jobs.

Students are learning how to install solar panels, repair wind turbines, produce biofuels and do other work related to renewable energy.

"I think the opportunities in this field are going to be huge," said Rudy Gastelo, a part-time handyman who left the construction industry two years ago. "I'm not getting that 9-to-5 paycheck, so I'm looking forward to maybe getting a job within a solar company."

To meet growing demand, two-year colleges are launching or expanding green job training with money from the federal stimulus package.

Students and schools are betting that President Barack Obama's campaign to promote alternative energy and curb global warming will create millions of well-paying green jobs that do not require a four-year degree.

Gastelo, 32, is learning how to install solar power systems at San Jose City College, which has long waiting lists for such classes.

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