An economic development forum focusing on bringing renewable energy jobs to Southern Illinois will take place next week at John A. Logan College and Southeastern Illinois College.

"Looking to the Future — Growing New Energy Jobs Downstate" will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p..m. Tuesday at John A. Logan College in Carterville and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday at Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg. 

A news release from the Eco-Justice Collaborative pointed out that the Future Energy Jobs Act was signed into law in Illinois and $200 million per year will be available to build new solar, wind and energy efficiency projects and the Illinois Solar for All program directing funds to solar projects and job training for low-income communities. This will lead to "good-paying jobs" and "prepare a workforce with competitive skills," according to the release.

Aur Beck of Advanced Energy Solutions, Inc., will give the keynote address and talk about his experience in bringing solar energy to the region. Morning sessions include panels of experts will cover solar, energy efficiency, workforce development, funding and the opportunities for solar farming. In the afternoon, experts will talk about leveraging available resources to bring jobs to Southern Illinois.

To reserve a seat, call Pam Richart at 217-607-1948. The registration fee is $15 and includes a catered lunch. The event is sponsored by Delta Institute, Eco-Justice Collaborative, Illinois Environmental Council and Prairie Rivers Network.

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