The clean energy industry is in higher demand than ever, and with the help of over $40 million in funding, the workforce is about to get stronger.
As part of the President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the selection of 17 new Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) and the inaugural cohort of 10 Building Training and Assessment Centers (BTAC). Selectees are expected to receive a combined $40.8 million, made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to expand training opportunities for in-demand, high-quality jobs while identifying opportunities for organizations to save energy, improve productivity and reduce waste.
Selectees will also work with hundreds of industrial facilities and buildings across more than 25 states and territories, expanding the existing network to 54 IACs and 10 BTACs. Aligned with the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 commitment, over 75% of these awards will go to organizations that serve disadvantaged communities, help reduce energy burdens and increase access to high-quality, good-paying jobs for Americans facing barriers to employment.
“America’s global leadership on advanced manufacturing and energy efficient buildings depends on our skilled, diverse workforce here at home,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, DOE is doing even more to invest in workers and small businesses, helping us meet our clean energy goals while creating high-quality, good-paying jobs in communities across the country.”
These new IACs and BTACs will deliver technical assistance and conduct assessments at small- and medium-sized manufacturer (SMMs) and commercial and institutional buildings. They will provide hands-on, engaging learning opportunities for students and union apprentices while identifying opportunities to reduce facility energy bills.
Programs will also offer training and upskilling opportunities for current manufacturing and building energy workers. Participants will exit these programs prepared for high-quality, in-demand roles as building energy managers, insulators and heating, air conditioning and refrigeration professionals, and as advanced manufacturing technicians for growing clean energy sectors like batteries and solar manufacturing.
These programs will broaden paths to clean energy careers that do not require a four-year degree. Seventeen of the 27 selected programs are based at community colleges, trade schools and labor unions, including several apprenticeship programs. Selected institutions will provide mentorship networks, scholarships, job placement assistance and other supports to serve diverse candidates, strengthen program completion rates and place trainees into high-quality, good-paying green jobs.
In total, 13 of the 27 selectees are federally recognized as serving an especially high percentage of students from minority groups (also known as Minority-Serving Institutions, or MSIs). As the Investing in America agenda boosts domestic manufacturing, enhances building performance and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, these new BTACs and IACs will play a crucial role in ensuring that all workers—and especially those facing barriers to employment—have the skills and opportunities to participate in the clean energy economy.
The new BTACs will build upon the existing IACs’ demonstrated successes in hands-on, real-world training. They will expand these benefits to commercial and institutional buildings across 26 states and territories to help them reduce energy bills and increase investment in environmental quality, employees and surrounding communities. Each BTAC will provide hands-on learning opportunities for students and in-depth assessments for building owners.
For more than four decades, the IAC program has provided more than 20,000 assessments at SMMs, which comprise more than 90% of the nation’s manufacturing entities. These new IACs will expand the IAC model to more SMMs in more states and communities across the country, while training 3,000+ students and incumbent manufacturing workers for quality careers that do not necessarily require a four-year college degree.
The new IACs at community colleges, trade schools and union training programs will expand pathways to green jobs for American workers. In the coming months, the IAC program will release additional opportunities to expand the network of IACs at community colleges, trade schools and union training programs; including combined labor-management training programs.