As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced 12 projects that will span more than 13 states selected for negotiations to launch training partnerships that expand the solar energy workforce in underserved and underrepresented communities. : as well as create career paths with thousands of well-paying jobs. Those selected include partners from industry, tribal organizations, labor unions, community colleges, and state and local governments. The $13.5 million program, including $10 million from President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, supports the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to equitably boost economic opportunity across America while achieving a 100% clean electric grid by 2035.
“President Biden’s Invest in America agenda is accelerating the clean energy transition, leading to the creation of hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs and fueling our growing clean energy economy,” said US Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm. “That’s why DOE is working to jump-start solar energy careers, especially in underserved communities, by developing the long-term infrastructure needed to support these jobs for the next decade.”
President Biden’s Invest in America agenda is growing the American economy from the bottom and middle, from rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom backed by good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree. build a clean energy economy that fights climate change and makes our communities more resilient.
According to the 2022 US Energy and Employment Report, the solar industry employs more than 330,000 workers and added 17,200 new jobs in 2021, a 5.2% increase. The report also found that while the solar industry is more diverse than some other energy industries, the overall energy workforce lags behind Hispanics (17%), Blacks (8%) and Native Americans (1%). With solar power potentially contributing up to a third of the US electricity supply, there is a need for more equity and inclusion in the industry.
The DOE expects the industry will need to grow by 500,000 to 1,500,000 workers by 2035 to meet the Biden-Harris administration’s decarbonization goals. These jobs must be accessible to workers of all backgrounds, provide competitive wages and benefits, and offer union membership opportunities.
The equity advancement through the Workforce Partnership funding announced today will directly address the need for diversity and inclusion. After two years of gathering information and engaging stakeholders, DOE designed this program to spur the development of workforce programs that promote rapid adoption of solar energy technologies while growing and supporting an inclusive workforce.
The chosen ones of the project are:
- Building Adaptive Solutions (Houston, Texas). (Prize: $1,100,000)
- Amicus O&M Cooperative (Boulder, CO). This project will expand training and certification pathways for solar energy operations and maintenance professionals in the US by partnering with Certified Energy Professionals of North America and other strategic workforce development organizations, employers and employees. (Prize: $1,500,000)
- Cook County, Illinois (Chicago, IL). This project will establish sustainable partnerships in Chicago that will benefit minority workers and small business owners and strengthen workforce training pipelines that will meet the demand of the local solar industry and create quality jobs. (Prize: $1,100,000)
- Crater Lake Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Center (Central Point, OR). In collaboration with the National Electrical Contractors Association/International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (NECA/IBEW), this project will develop a union-based pre-apprenticeship course for senior electricians. School students in rural and tribal communities in southern Oregon and Utah. (Prize: $1,500,000)
- Emerald Cities Collaborative (Seattle, Washington). In partnership with union-run training centers, this project will create one of the first dedicated solar installer courses and union-based electrical pre-apprenticeship programs for Black, Native, and American people in Washington State. Color. (Prize: $725,000)
- Kern Community College District (Bakersfield, California). In partnership with IBEW, this project will provide solar installation career training and electrical apprenticeship training with union membership opportunities for participants in underserved communities in California’s Central Valley. (Prize: $1,000,000)
- Power52 Foundation (Columbia, MD). This project will expand access to solar training and quality jobs through career paths for individuals in underserved communities by expanding a nationally recognized solar training program to new locations around Baltimore, Maryland. (Prize: $1,400,000)
- Red Cloud Renewable (Pine Ridge, SD). This project will use an apprenticeship training program that provides family-centered services, one-on-one tutoring and a mobile lab to place Native American women into careers in the U.S. solar workforce (Award: $1,500,000)
- Solar Landscape (Asbury Park, NJ). This project will collaborate with community organizations, vocational training institutions and corporate partners to provide quality training programs in New Mexico, Maryland, Colorado and other states with growing community solar markets. . (Prize: $850,000)
- Solar One (New York, New York). This project will strengthen solar curriculum in preschool, community college, and high school education programs, create career paths for entry-level employees, and develop resources to increase participation in minority and women-owned business enterprises. New York and Newark, New Jersey. (Prize: $750,000)
- University of Louisiana at Lafayette (Lafayette, LA). This project will create the Louisiana Solar Corps, a statewide solar workforce training and apprenticeship program that will create eight new degree programs at five community colleges and four universities, including historically black colleges and universities. (Prize: $1,000,000)
- Worksystems (Portland, OR). In partnership with NECA/IBEW, this project will create training and placement resources for diverse job seekers to enter quality jobs in solar installation and related occupations, including union electrical careers in the Portland metro area. (Prize: $1,000,000)
Selection for an award negotiation is not an obligation on the part of DOE to award or provide funding. Before funding is awarded, DOE and applicants will engage in a negotiation process, and DOE may cancel negotiations and cancel selections for any reason during that time.
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