By Ramona du Houx

March 18, 2010

Efficiency Maine—a program of the Maine Public Utilities Commission—has awarded a total of $1.3 million in grants to four Maine Community Colleges to support their work in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act 2009 (ARRA) provided federal stimulus funds for this grant program

“The Community Colleges are vital partners in the effort to ensure that Maine has the workforce necessary to meet the needs of the growing ‘green’ economy,” Commission Chair Sharon Reishus said. “The grants will enable these four campuses to expand their programs, reach more students, and ensure that this generation of students has the skills needed to participate in the developing energy efficiency and renewable energy sector of our economy.”

The $1.3 million which funds these grants is part of over $38 million administered by Efficiency Maine. This announcement marks the last of nearly two dozen separate energy efficiency initiatives that Efficiency Maine has launched to deploy ARRA funds.

The following Community Colleges will receive grant awards from Efficiency Maine:

· Northern Maine Community College (NMCC-Presque Isle) NMCC will use grant funds to support the campus construction cluster program established to build a greener workforce through revising building energy curricula, creating new hands-on opportunities in building science, and strengthening the College’s wind power program.

· Eastern Maine Community College (EMCC-Bangor) EMCC will develop a hands-on academic laboratory program in Building Science to complement the College’s degree program. All programs are tailored to the changing workforce development needs in the Bangor region.

· Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC-Fairfield) The KVCC grant will support the campus’ Renewable Energy Management (“REM”) component of the KVCC Energy Services and Technology Center in order to provide enhanced training for a skilled energy efficiency and renewable energy workforce.

· Southern Maine Community College (SMCC-South Portland) SMCC will establish the Building Science and Sustainability Program to train a large number of Maine students across various building trades in the theory and practice of building science, energy efficiency, weatherization and renewable energy.

Each winning Community College will implement plans to coordinate their program offerings with local schools and other college and university campuses.

One of the priorities of ARRA programs is that funding be targeted to appropriate job training activities. By developing a highly trained workforce, these Community College programs will contribute to the long term success of the energy efficiency and renewable energy economic sectors.