Metropolitan Community College is poised to train the next generation of sustainable energy and renewable technology workers, after receiving a $318,000 grant from the Nebraska Energy Office. The school plans to complete a new solar training lab — heated entirely through solar power — by 2011 at its South Omaha campus. MCC will begin offering degree and certificate programs in solar and sustainable energy technology next year. Michael Shonka, president of Solar Heat and Electric and an MCC instructor, says Nebraska has all the resources necessary to become a sustainable energy leader. The next step is building a workforce capable of harnessing that potential. “If we can educate a workforce about the importance of renewable energy technologies, we can reduce the energy trade deficit in this state,” he says. Nebraska ranks ninth in solar energy potential, according to the National Resource Defense Council.