Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia are among the 27 states selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to receive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding “to develop and expand weatherization training centers across the country.” Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman commented: “A well-trained workforce will be a crucial part of America's clean energy economy in the years ahead. These investments in efficiency training programs will help build a foundation for long-term growth in America. Energy efficiency improves the competitiveness of our economy, benefits the environment, and puts Americans back to work.”
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), created in 1976, is a federally funded, state administered Department of Energy program that seeks to assist low-income families in permanently reducing their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. On average, families whose homes have been weatherized see a savings of about $350 a year, depending on fuel prices. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, $5 billion was allocated to support the provision of weatherization services nationally, including trainings and equipment purchases.
In Kentucky, the Kentucky Housing Corporation will receive $996,000 to expand the state’s weatherization program and establish a comprehensive training center in Frankfort. Ohio’s Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development received $1 million in support for expanding training facilities throughout the southeastern Ohio in particular. Virginia received two grants for a total of $1, 981,000 to support training programs in Hampton and Christiansburg through the Green Jobs Alliance and the Community Housing Partners Coalition respectively. The West Virginia Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity received $1 million to expand access to training facilities and materials in West Virginia.
The training support grants reflect the Department of Energy’s desire to ramp up states’ spending of the ARRA-funding prior to the end of the stimulus period, March 31, 2011. Training efforts currently underway are crucial to preparing WAP employees, contractors and staff to increase the number of homes receiving weatherization services prior to the onset of this year’s cold season when heating bills peak. For more information on ARRA funding, visit www.recovery.gov.