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Department of Energy Awards CHP $1 Million for Weatherization Training Center

Christiansburg, Va. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today that Community Housing Partners (CHP) has been selected to receive $1 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand the training capabilities of its New River Center for Energy Research and Training (NRCERT), the non-profit organization’s weatherization training center.

NRCERT was established in 1999 and provides training in state-of-the-art residential energy conservation techniques, home performance testing, and heating and cooling equipment diagnostics, repair and replacement. An all-new 10,000 square foot training facility was recently completed in Christiansburg, providing the teachers and students innovative space, equipment, and props for a hands-on classroom experience. Since its establishment over a decade ago, NRCERT has trained over 20,000 participants across 25 States and Canada. Its expert trainers are certified by RESNET, EarthCraft, and the Building Performance Institute.

“Thanks to generous funding from the DOE, NRCERT can digitize our curriculum and increase our ability to preparing workers in our region for jobs in the green construction, alternative energy, and energy-efficiency fields,” stated Mark Jackson, Director of NRCERT. “That means our graduates will be better positioned for employment, while employers will enjoy the benefits of having a well-trained staff skilled in a fast-emerging industry,” added Jackson.

In all, 34 projects in 27 states will receive a total of $29 million to provide green job training for local workers in energy efficiency retrofitting and weatherization services. With this training, skilled workers in southwestern Virginia and across the nation can help expand the use of energy efficient practices in America's homes and businesses.

"A well-trained workforce will be a crucial part of America's clean energy economy in the years ahead," said Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. "These investments in efficiency training programs will help build a foundation for long-term growth in America. Energy efficiency improves the competitiveness of our economy, benefits the environment, and puts Americans back to work."

NRCERT will use the funding to design and produce a comprehensive technology enabled weatherization training curriculum to enhance the consistency, accessibility and quality of its existing education program. The center will offer training using a combination of classroom, online, video and hands-on learning tools to prepare weatherization workers, supervisors, and inspectors to maintain a high degree of quality in weatherization projects and to be competitive in the growing field of energy efficiency retrofits.

Employing innovative approaches to weatherization training and standardized training curricula, NRCERT will use the funding to prepare weatherization workers, supervisors, and inspectors to maintain a high degree of quality in weatherization projects and to work in the growing field of energy efficiency retrofits. The center will offer training using a combination of classroom, online, and hands-on learning tools.