Center of Excellence for Clean Energy wins $10 million grant

The Center of Excellence for Clean Energy at Centralia College prepares adults to work in energy-related careers. Here, Jake Kinsman works on a turbine runner for Tacoma Power.
The Center of Excellence for Clean Energy at Centralia College prepares adults to work in energy-related careers. Here, Jake Kinsman works on a turbine runner for Tacoma Power.

Centralia College’s Center of Excellence for Clean Energy has been awarded a $10 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The grant will fund the Washington Integrated Sector Employment (WISE) project, which will be spearheaded by three Centers of Excellence to expand training partnerships between community colleges and employers.

“The WISE project represents a statewide collaboration that will serve 1,992 adults and includes eight community and technical colleges, five workforce investment boards, the state’s coordinating agency, the Washington State Labor Council, and more than a dozen major employers,” said Barbara Hins-Turner, executive director of the Center of Excellence for Clean Energy.

“This project is culmination of a multi-year effort to coordinate the public workforce system to support sustainable development in our most critical industries: clean energy, construction, and advanced manufacturing.”

The Centers of Excellence leading the WISE project are:

  • The Center of Excellence for Clean Energy at Centralia College
  • The Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Materials Manufacturing at Everett Community College
  • The Center of Excellence for Construction at Renton Technical College

Centralia College expects to receive $1.8 million from the total $10 million awarded for the WISE project.

WISE brings together the clean energy, construction, and advanced manufacturing sectors to create a cluster that will prepare participants for employment in entry level, pre-apprenticeship, and apprenticeship occupations. It will address the unique needs of unemployed, or under-employed dislocated workers, using innovative and sophisticated strategies.

The grant was announced at an event hosted by Vice President Joe Bidden at the White House on Sept. 29. Vice President Biden was joined by U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan during the announcement. In total, 270 community colleges will receive $450 million to expand training partnerships between community colleges and employers as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grantees will partner with 400 employers.

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