Kansas has been awarded a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to train people for employment in so-called "green" industries.
Gov. Mark Parkinson, who announced the award Wednesday at the 2010 Workforce Summit in Topeka, said the grant will help out-of-work Kansans retrain for new jobs in the renewable energy sector.
A spokesman for the Kansas Department of Commerce said it isn't yet known how many jobs would be created by the grant, or how much of the grant money would be earmarked for the Wichita area.
"It's a little hard to say right now," said Joe Monaco, public information officer for the department. "This is largely money that will help us continue to integrate training statewide."
Kansas was one of 34 states to receive grants ranging from $2 million to $6 million Wednesday.
Financed by stimulus funds, the grants are designed to teach workers the skills needed in industries such as energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Kansas' grant will focus on such green industries as renewable energy operation, construction, manufacturing and supply chain; energy transmission; biomass; and green construction and manufacturing.
Program participants will receive the technical and occupational skills to obtain industry-recognized credentials.
The Labor Department designs the grants to achieve these goals:
* Create a system of education, training and support services for low-income, low-skilled workers to gain "green" industry employment
* Allow states to implement a statewide energy-sector strategy, including the governor's overall workforce vision, state energy policies and training activities that lead to employment in targeted industries
* Build and strengthen partnerships dedicated to developing a skilled clean-energy work force
* Develop new partnerships with other agencies receiving stimulus funds to support planning and implementation efforts
Kansas' grant application was shaped by the State Energy Sector Partnership convened by Parkinson.
It is made up of the KansasWorks state board; local workforce investment boards; the Kansas Corporation Commission; energy industry leaders, including representatives from natural gas and wind power interests, union representatives and electric utilities; the Kansas Apprenticeship Program; the Land Institute; the Kansas Board of Regents; veterans programs; state economic development agencies; and the Kansas departments of Labor, Corrections and Commerce.