May 17, 2020

Illinois Program Helps Veterans Get Jobs, Save Energy

energy digital
4 min
Addressing the high unemployment of veterans
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Nov. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The State of Illinois is helping its unemployed and underemployed veterans earn the nationally-recogni...


SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Nov. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The State of Illinois is helping its unemployed and underemployed veterans earn the nationally-recognized Building Operator Certification (BOC®) and achieve gainful employment through the BOC Veterans Pilot program. This program directly addresses the issue of higher unemployment among Illinois returning veterans which was over 11% in 2011.    

The BOC Veterans Pilot Program, led by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCEO), the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) and several other state and local organizations, targets veterans who have experience and skills that are readily transferable to commercial building operations and maintenance.  The Springfield program participants served in the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, and U.S. Air Force.

"MEEA brought the veterans workforce development program to Illinois because it was an ideal win-win. We train returning veterans for jobs at home and those jobs will save Illinois businesses energy and money," said Jay Wrobel, Executive Director of MEEA.

Since August, Springfield-area enrolled veterans have engaged in a rigorous program at Lincoln Land Community College including eight days of technical training on energy-efficient building operations and maintenance, a mentoring program, and several employment workshops led by the Land of Lincoln Workforce Alliance which focused on topics such as resume building, interviewing skills, and job searching.

The entire Illinois program was provided free to qualified veterans – BOC tuition alone would normally cost $1,250. The BOC program is sponsored by DCEO's State Energy Office, with additional funds for the veterans pilot provided by the U.S. Department of Labor State Energy Sector Partnership grant, which is administered by DCEO's Office of Employment and Training in conjunction with the Land of Lincoln Workforce Alliance.

The program also received federal Workforce Investment Act funds through the DuPage County Workforce Development Division.  A full list of project partners can be viewed at The pilot is also featured as a 2012 Clinton Global Initiative America Commitment to Action. To learn more, visit


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"What a great opportunity this program has afforded me. I have thoroughly enjoyed the BOC program and have gained a lot of useful knowledge to help me develop a rewarding career," said program participant Michael Wright.

As the project sponsor, DCEO champions the pilots' benefits – addressing the issue of unemployed Illinois veterans while saving energy and money for Illinois businesses and organizations. 

"We must strengthen the returning veteran's access to training that will lead to a job in Illinois.  To do that with an energy efficiency savings skill set supports another public mission that our veterans can help us accomplish," said DCEO Director David Vaught.

Through the mentoring program, facilities personnel at local organizations volunteer to help veterans complete hands-on projects such as a lighting survey and facility energy use profile.  Participating mentors include Henson Robinson Company, Horace Mann Service Corporation, Lincoln Land Community College, and the Illinois Department of Central Management Services.

"We at IDVA know that one of the greatest challenges veterans face is acquiring relevant certification and training for civilian careers," said Erica Borggren, Director the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. "The BOC program is a great example of public-private partnership to help veterans train for and transition into a meaningful civilian career."

Upon graduation on November 15, the BOC-certified veterans will be ready to apply the concepts learned in training to undertake measures such as energy efficiency retrofit projects and indoor air quality improvements.  The average energy savings per BOC graduate in Illinois have been estimated by Navigant Consulting to be 181,000 kWh and 557 therms per year.

MEEA and its Springfield partners are currently working to help participating veterans secure employment in the facilities management profession.  The BOC program recently held a breakfast for Springfield-area employers to educate them about the benefits of hiring BOC-certified veterans and enlist their help.   

Additionally, MEEA and its partners in DuPage County are currently recruiting unemployed and underemployed Illinois veterans to participate in the second pilot program beginning in January 2013 at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL.



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Oct 19, 2020

Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process

Scott Birch
3 min
Nevada firm aims to become the primary manganese producer in the United States
Nevada firm aims to become the primary manganese producer in the United States...

Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.

Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.

The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content. 

In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.

Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.

"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president. 

“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.

"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.

Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.

Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.

A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.

The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.

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