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H.R. 872 (110th): National Endowment for Workforce Education in Renewables and Agriculture Act of 2007

The text of the bill below is as of Feb 7, 2007 (Introduced).


I

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 872

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 7, 2007

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor

A BILL

To authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to make competitive grants to community colleges and advanced technology education centers partnering with community colleges to support the education and training of technicians in the fields of bioenergy and other agriculture-based, renewable energy resources, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the National Endowment for Workforce Education in Renewables and Agriculture Act of 2007 or NEW ERA Act of 2007.

2.

Competitive grants for bioenergy technician education and training through community colleges and advanced technology education centers partnering with community colleges

(a)

Competitive grants

The Secretary of Agriculture may make competitive grants to community colleges and advanced technology education centers described in subsection (b) to support the education and training of technicians in the fields of bioenergy and other agriculture-based, renewable energy resources.

(b)

Eligible entities

Grants may be made under this section only to a community college or advanced technology education center that—

(1)

is in existence as of the date of the enactment of this Act and located in the State of Iowa or other Midwestern States selected by the Secretary;

(2)

the Secretary determines has a proven record of development and implementation of programs to meet the needs of students, educators, and business and industry to supply the agriculture-based, renewable energy field with qualified and trained technicians; and

(3)

demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary the ability to leverage existing partnerships and develop educational and occupational outreach and training programs with secondary schools, four-year institutions of higher education, and the agricultural extension system to fill the next generation of emerging technician positions in the fields of bioenergy and other agriculture-based, renewable energy resources.

(c)

Education and training priorities

In selecting grant recipients under this section, the Secretary shall give priority to the following occupational education and training initiatives:

(1)

Improving the capacity of bioenergy service industry technicians to meet the needs of the agricultural-based bioenergy sector, particularly among small- and medium-sized businesses.

(2)

Enhancement of training of instructors at community colleges and other instructors in the areas of agriculture-based bioenergy research, efficiency, and conservation.

(3)

Identification of agricultural-based bioenergy employment opportunities in the renewable energy areas of biomass and other renewable energy areas within the private sector, particularly among small- and medium-sized businesses.

(4)

Advancement of agriculture-based bioenergy advanced environmental technology education and training through curriculum development, professional development, and program improvements at community colleges, in partnership with other institutions of higher education and secondary schools.

(5)

Development of working partnerships between community colleges and nonprofit organizations dedicated to bioenergy education and training for future bioenergy services career opportunities in the agriculture-based renewable energy field.

(d)

Consultation

In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall consult with the National Science Foundation, the Small Business Administration, and other appropriate Federal agencies.

(e)

Evaluation component

An application for a grant under this section shall include a comprehensive evaluation component to ensure the quality and achievement of project bioenergy technician education and training goals and objectives.

(f)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Community college

The term community college means an institution of higher education—

(A)

that admits as regular students persons who are beyond the age of compulsory school attendance in the State in which the institution is located and who have the ability to benefit from the training offered by the institution;

(B)

that does not provide an educational program for which it awards a bachelor’s degree, or an equivalent degree; and

(C)

that—

(i)

provides an educational program of not less than two years that is acceptable for full credit toward such a degree; or

(ii)

offers a two-year program in engineering, mathematics, or the physical or biological sciences, designed to prepare a student to work as a technician or at the semiprofessional level in engineering, scientific, or other technological fields requiring the understanding and application of basic engineering, scientific, or mathematical principles of knowledge.

(2)

Advanced technology education center

The term advanced technology education center means an educational entity that features a community college partnering with other institutions of higher education and with direct linkages with private industry involved in the agriculture-based bioenergy economy of the United States.