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Sierra College wins $205,000 grant

ROCKLIN – The Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT)  at Sierra College was selected through a competitive process to receive a $205,000 grant from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, Economic and Workforce Development Program. The grant will focus on manufacturers and train energy technicians to identify and implement energy saving practices that provide competitive advantages to businesses, while supporting workers and the region economically.

 The project includes a demonstration site to assist manufacturers in utilizing energy audits, weatherization and other methods to reduce energy consumption without outlay of capital investment. In partnership with the California Conservation Corps in Auburn, CA, CACT will develop curriculum to train Corps members to fill the need for energy efficiency technicians. This project will give local manufacturers cost-saving advantages generate new businesses, open ‘green collar’ career paths to well-paid jobs and develop workers’ skills to meet a growing demand. Carol Pepper-Kittredge, CACT Director for Sierra College, will manage this grant project.

 According to Sandra Scott, Director, Grant Development and Career Technical Education at Sierra College, CACT has been providing technical assistance to employers since 1992. “To mitigate the effects of the deep recession that began in 2008, manufacturers have retrenched and reduced costs by implementing ‘lean’ and process improvement practices to increase productivity,” said Scott.

 “One of the few remaining expenditures that businesses can control is energy use.  By implementing energy efficient practices that align with lean manufacturing and continuous improvement principles, California manufacturers can improve their financial performance in the globally competitive marketplace.”

 The California Conservation Corps (CCC) Placer Energy Center will play a key role explained Rod Thornhill, Center Director, CCC. “In addition to hosting training courses, the site will be used for business and industry workshops on improving energy efficiency as well as demonstrating new and renewable energy technologies,” said Thornhill.  “This program will serve as a state-wide model, ultimately training and placing hundreds of workers.” Those trained through the program may further develop their skills through the new Sierra College Energy Technology photovoltaic program (

 Local manufacturers, public agencies and economic development organizations support this effort. According to Clay Schmidt, Executive Manager, Sacramento, PG&E, this partnership will positively benefit the region. “PG&E fully expects excellent results that will help Californian businesses be competitive globally and expand the region’s workforce,” said Schmidt.

 To spread the impact through the CACT’s Northern California territory, Butte College and College of the Redwoods are grant partners. Annie Rafferty, Director of Contract Education for Butte College explained that the Sierra College CACT currently provides customized training to the North Valley Lean Group composed of 13 leading manufacturers. “The Lean Group and the Butte College Green Building Technology Advisory Group with CACT will provide businesses with critical skills to implement energy-smart procedures and find energy-saving opportunities,” said Rafferty. 

Sierra College CACT and Training & Development also offer on-site customized employee training in process improvement, lean manufacturing, high-tech soldering, supervision, communication and other business topics. Since 1992, Sierra College CACT has worked with businesses, manufacturers and technology companies in Northern California. For more information, go to or contact Sandra Scott, at or (916) 781-6245.

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