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January 10, 2012

State Commerce Director Announces Capital Funding for Second Round of Green Jobs Training Grants
Urban Weatherization Program will Provide Training for 685 Weather Specialist Jobs in Urban Communities

CHICAGO – Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley today announced $3,398,444 in capital funding to ten organizations that will train nearly 700 weatherization specialists across the state as part of the second phase of the Urban Weatherization Initiative (UWI). UWI is the nation's first state-funded weatherization program and one of the largest job creation initiatives to date for urban communities in Illinois. Governor Quinn kicked-off the first phase the multi-year green jobs training program last September by announcing the first round of funding for home energy audit training with national certification.

“With the green sector continuing to grow, it is more important now than ever to make sure people have the skills they need to compete for high-tech jobs, said Director Ribley. “The Urban Weatherization Initiative will help create green jobs in our underserved communities and strengthen the local economy.”

Reinforcing Governor Quinn’s commitment to creating jobs throughout the state, the grants announced today will provide trainees with the skills they need to become weatherization specialists, including repairing/replacing inefficient heating or cooling units and also water filters, addressing air infiltration issues, and installing pipe and duct insulation. Awarded through a competitive process, the following organizations have been awarded UWI grants:

Amount Awarded
Peoria Citizens Committee for Economic Opportunity
East Peoria, IL
Proviso Leyden Council
Maywood, IL
Illinois YouthBuild Coalition
Rockford, Chicago, Normal, North Chicago, Waukegan, IL
Southwestern Illinois College
East St. Louis, IL
Genesis Housing Development Corp
Chicago, IL
Black Star Project
Chicago, IL
North Lawndale Employment Network
Chicago, IL
Healthcare Consortium of Illinois
Dolton, IL
Emerson Park Development Corporation
East St. Louis, IL
Pembroke-Hopkins Park Construction Outreach Program
Pembroke Township, IL

“Through weatherization, homeowners are able to increase energy efficiency while reducing their energy costs,” said Director Ribley. “The Urban Weatherization Initiative will help revitalize communities and create much needed jobs in our most disadvantaged neighborhoods.”

The Urban Weatherization Initiative (UWI) is funded through the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program. The UWI was initially proposed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, and currently, $12 million in capital funding has been allotted to UWI to start the program, fund the first round of home energy auditor training which was announced in September, and fund the weatherization specialist training announced today.

“The Urban Weatherization Initiative is a jobs initiative that will ultimately give people the skills to increase energy efficiency and lower household energy bills in their own communities,” said Percy Harris, UWI Board Chairman. “The skills and credentials that these workers will gain will give them a career in the green economy, which helps them as individuals, breadwinners and citizens.”

Weatherization efforts provide social, economic and environmental benefits to homeowners. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, weatherization reduced energy bills an average of $215 per year in 2002.

UWI is administered by the Office of Urban Assistance in the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. For more information about the Urban Weatherization Initiative, please visit www.ildceo.net/urbanweatherization.



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