Tucson Electric Power (TEP), Pima Community College (PCC) and other partners will use a federal grant to expand energy industry job training programs in Arizona.
The United States Department of Labor awarded a $13,477,799 Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant to the Arizona Sun Corridor Get Into Energy Consortium (Consortium), an association of five community colleges in Arizona.
TAACCCT grants are intended to assist workers who have lost or may lose their jobs as a result of foreign trade by providing opportunities to obtain skills, credentials, and other resources needed to find work. TEP and other industry partners throughout Arizona contributed input and support to the grant application, which was prepared under the leadership of Dr. Clay Goodman, vice president of Occupational Education at Estrella Mountain Community College in Avondale, Ariz., and Consortium director.
PCC will receive approximately $1.9 million of the grant. Northland Pioneer College (NPC) in northeast Arizona, where TEP’s Springerville Generating Station is located, will receive approximately $2 million. Grant funding, which will become available to the colleges next year, may be used to pay for instructors, facilities and delivery of curriculum that will prepare students for energy-sector jobs. The job development programs will be open to anyone, although extra effort will be made to recruit veterans and underserved populations including racial and ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.
“In order to develop the talented workforce that will maintain our electrical infrastructure in the future, we have to make an investment in our communities today,” said Cathy Ries, TEP Vice President of Human Resources and Information Systems. “These training initiatives will help to ensure that we can continue to hire employees who provide safe, reliable energy service to customers.”
By 2015, almost half of the skilled workforce in the energy industry may need to be replaced due to retirement or attrition, according to the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD). These new training programs will help prepare applicants for high-wage, high-skill jobs. Workers entering the program will have an opportunity to earn credentials in Energy Industry Fundamentals, which can be used by energy industry employers nationwide to evaluate job applicants.