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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rapids turbine blade maker gets $100,000 training boost

From a news release issued by the Department of Workforce Development:

WISCONSIN RAPIDS – On behalf of Governor Jim Doyle, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman today awarded a $100,000 workforce training grant to prepare the first of 400 workers for green jobs when a new Wisconsin Rapids business starts manufacturing wind turbine blades. . . .

The $100,000 grant awarded to the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board will be matched by more than $60,000 locally. Among the goals of the Renewable Electric Power project is to train 35 individuals, including dislocated workers, for the first openings at the Energy Composites Corporation. Earlier this year, the firm announced its plans to construct of a 350,000-square-foot, composites fabrication plant to manufacture wind turbine blades.

As part of the project, Mid-State Technical College is creating a 12-credit Composite Certificate, intensive , short-term, customized training in turbine blade fabrication. The 35 trainees are to complete six-months of instruction in June, allowing others to enter the pipeline for employment opportunities at the plant. In the process, the project will develop a green job career pathway for the emerging renewable energy sector in the north central region.

“This is our future,” Secretary Gassman said, “seizing green opportunities that will create good jobs for our citizens and fuel economic growth in the emerging industries of renewable energy, biotechnology and advanced manufacturing.”

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