PITTSBURGH – The Department of Energy has announced $3.2 billion in funding for cities and counties to train people for green jobs, and there are big plans to use that money in the Pittsburgh area.
WTAE Channel 4’s Sheldon Ingram reported that the Clifford B. Connelly Trade School building in the Hill District will soon become the master incubator for harvesting Pittsburgh’s new green-collar workforce.
The International Union of Operating Engineers said it will buy the school building, then use the government money to renovate it and turn it into a place where high school students can be trained for green-collar careers.
“We think it will put Pittsburgh on the map as a green city, but it will train people to be ready for these new jobs,” said William Cagney, of IUOE Local 95.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis traveled Thursday to the Community College of Allegheny County’s West Hills Center, which has a tech lab that the union uses to retrain workers.
“We want to give energy a good name. The goal is to cut energy bills for homes and businesses,” Chu said.
The grants will pay for energy conversions in homes and businesses to cut energy costs. Transportation programs will benefit too, as will government buildings.
For example, Allegheny County is saving $178,000 a year with 805 new LED lights inside the county jail.
Imbutech—the company that installed the jail lights—is also bidding to replace all of Pittsburgh’s street lights.
“Overall for the city of Pittsburgh, you have 140,000 streetlights, so you’re looking at an 80 percent energy reduction for the city of Pittsburgh,” Imbutech CEO Richard Taylor said.