LANSING — In September 2009 with Michigan reeling from an unemployment rate of 14.1 percent, then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced a green jobs training program that she said would help make the state “a center for renewable energy and green jobs” by training people in eight of Michigan’s most economically depressed cities.
Almost three years later, the Energy Conservation Apprenticeship Readiness Program had 200 people apply statewide, cost $2.3 million in federal stimulus money and yielded few jobs for the enrollees who were trained.
For example, of the 24 students who enrolled in Detroit’s program, one got a job for which they were trained, while two others landed in apprenticeship programs. There are 3.1 million jobs in the state.
In Benton Harbor, 20 people are enrolled in the nine-week training program. Two got jobs directly related to their training.
“They went and said, ‘We have some money. Let’s go train some people,’” said Todd Gustafson, executive director of the Berrien County MichiganWorks! office that coordinated the ECAR program in Benton Harbor. “Those green jobs never came.”