Bennet Meets With CMC Officials to Spotlight New Green Building Academy Initiative to Prepare Coloradans For Jobs in the New Energy Economy
Aspen, CO - As Coloradans continue to struggle in the current economic crisis, Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today met with Colorado Mountain College (CMC) Aspen Campus administrators and educators to discuss local workforce training initiatives.
In an effort to support local job retraining, Bennet spotlighted the college's new Green Building Academy initiative - a program to help local residents meet new workforce demands - and also lent his support to a current application from Pitkin County for funds to help laid off workers receive training for new careers.
"Colorado Mountain College and Pitkin County's effort to retrain workers demonstrates how Colorado is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the new energy economy. Coloradans are sure to succeed if we help equip them with the right tools to face the new economy and the changing demands in the workplace," Bennet said.
At the event, Bennet discussed CMC Aspen's new Green Building Academy initiative, a program that will help people in the building trades meet changing needs in the workplace by providing them with training and certification energy-efficient building practices.
The academy will offer education for building professionals interested in advancing their knowledge and technical skills in energy efficiency and green building. The program will provide an ongoing series of trainings that will enhance professional development for those working in the building trades, as well as supply retraining for out-of-work people in the field.
In an additional push to help local job retraining efforts, Bennet wrote a letter to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs in support of a pending application for a Community Services Block Grant that would go to the Pitkin County Re-employment Program to help local residents who have been laid off get training for new careers.
Bennet wrote in the letter: "This integrated, pragmatic approach toward workforce education and training in the clean energy industry is exactly what we need to take advantage of Colorado's innovative leadership in the field and build a stronger job base for the future."
The text of the letter follows.
July 1, 2009
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
131 Sherman Street, #500
Denver, CO 80203
Re: Pitkin County Application for Community Services Block Grant Funding
Dear Ms. Kirkpatrick,
I urge you to support an application submitted by Pitkin County for funds through the Community Services Block Grant Program. The Pitkin County community has been hit hard by the economic downturn, and county officials plan to use these much-needed funds to help those who have been laid off get training for new careers.
Specifically, the grant would fund the Pitkin County Re-employment Program, which will provide hands-on job training workshops, classes and case management for 20 eligible participants, through Colorado Mountain College and Colorado Workforce. This integrated, pragmatic approach toward workforce education and training in the clean energy industry is exactly what we need to take advantage of Colorado's innovative leadership in the field and build a stronger job base for the future.
Small communities like Pitkin County cannot be forgotten in the application of recovery dollars. In the past, the resort, construction, real estate and financial industries have made for a robust job market, but Pitkin County has lost 4,000 jobs in the last year, and its unemployment rate has doubled in the last year, to 4.1 percent.
I strongly urge you to support this proposal. The people of Pitkin County have the plan in place to move their region past the recession and into the new energy economy. All they need now is the resources to see it through.
Please keep my office informed of any developments with this proposal. Thank you for your consideration.
Michael F. Bennet
United States Senator