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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu issued the following statement on today's grand opening of the Southeast Weatherization & Energy  Efficiency Training (SWEET) Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

"The SWEET Center in Atlanta will play a critical role in training thousands of workers for new jobs, laying the foundation for continued growth in this developing industry.  With help from the Recovery Act, this program will provide workers with the skills they need to offer local homeowners quality energy efficiency upgrades that will save them money by saving energy."


The Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta, Georgia received approximately $200,000 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, distributed through the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA).  Southface was able to leverage that Recovery Act funding with private funding sources for a total investment of $600,000 toward the development of the SWEET Center and its weatherization training programs.  With the 3,500 square feet in additional training space, the grand opening today effectively increases Southface's available training space by more than 40 percent.  

In addition, Southface received nearly $950,000 in funding to expand Georgia's weatherization training programs.  With this additional funding, they will help build a lasting training infrastructure throughout the Southeast.  To date, the Southface SWEET Center has trained more than 700 weatherization professionals, which in turn has benefited more than 3,500 low-income families across Georgia.  In 2011, they expect to train more than 1,000 weatherization workers from across the Southeast.  The training programs will provide practical, hands-on learning opportunities in up-to-date weatherization techniques including blower door testing, duct sealing, installing insulation, caulking and more.


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