State boosting 'green' technology

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It's not easy being "green," but local businesses may find it a little easier than it used to be thanks to a new statewide program.

The Franklin-based Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board, led by executive director John Beauregard, is offering local employers in green industries up to $135,000 in matching grants over the next two years to train their workers in innovative technologies. The money is coming through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, and the deadline for employers to apply for funding this year is April 15.

Beauregard said in a statement that his organization's Green Jobs Project Team is charged with preparing local workers for positions promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy, along with other environmentally friendly fields.

The team, co-chaired by Rochelle Gimenez, dean of the School of Continuing Education at Eastern Connecticut State University, and Chad Whitcomb, president of Greensulators of Lisbon, is working to match work force needs with training and education programs.

"We're looking for green companies who want to train their workers or any eastern Connecticut employer who has embraced innovative green technology or practices and now needs to bring their employees up to speed," Gimenez said in a statement.

Employers can collect up to $20,000 in dollar-for-dollar matches to upgrade worker skills, with a cap of $3,000 per trainee. The training, which must be done through a certified program, is expected to boost job growth locally, Beauregard said, though the work force board is not projecting a specific number of new positions in the green industry.

"It should help the region's ability to retain employers here so they can grow in eastern Connecticut," he said.

Interested employers should call Tim Murney at (860) 235-7346 or go to the workforce board's website at www.ewib.org.

l.howard@theday.com

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