$4.1M from Feds to Curb Energy Consumption, Create Jobs

Article excerpt

Hoping to harness the potential of energy efficiency, Fayette County officials on Friday announced the recent award of a $4.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to reduce energy consumption and create jobs.

Goals of the grant include educating consumers on how to assess their energy consumption, offering training programs for expected energy efficiency jobs and developing programs other communities can replicate.

"This program will help improve lifestyles, increase understanding about energy consumption and create an energy-saving mentality for residents in our county," said Joe Segilia, director of Outreach and Continuing Education at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus.

During a news conference at the university yesterday, officials noted that Fayette County was among only 20 grant recipients nationwide. It was the only grant recipient in Pennsylvania.

The grant was included in more than $60 million in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to implement programs to make American homes, vehicles and businesses more energy-efficient, according to a Department of Energy statement.

Penn State will work with agencies including the Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette Inc. to train a potential work force in energy efficiency careers.

"The opportunities are here; the work force is here," said Sean Sypolt, PIC project manager.

He compared energy opportunities in Fayette County to "the new steel or coal industry."

"There is growth now. It's not a projection. …