The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced it will provide up to $10 million in competitive grants to nonprofit public/private partnerships that will provide energy efficiency classroom instruction and on-the-job training.
Applications are now being accepted for the Career Skills Training program (CST). The grants are intended to help address the limited qualified green building workforce across the country, and to support the implementation of national energy efficiency improvements sparked by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Last year DOE announced $225 million in grants to cross-sectoral partnerships pursuing innovative approaches to advance state and local adoption of the most recent building energy codes for residential and commercial buildings. In a 100% renewables grid, energy efficiency is valuable, a National Renewable Energy Laboratory study has found, as the cost-optimal strategy would involve energy efficiency improvements in existing buildings of about 60%, along with oversized renewable generation and long-term storage.
With an uptick in adoption of those codes, workers with up-to-date training in energy efficiency building practices are in short supply. The CST program aims to train building performance professionals to fill those jobs. Program participants will obtain industry-related certifications to install energy efficient building technologies.
“President Biden’s historic investments are accelerating the clean energy transition, creating hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, while turbo-boosting our clean energy economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Today’s investment expands career training and retention programs that will equip the workforce with the necessary skills to deliver on the President’s climate goals and help us achieve our equitable clean energy transition.”
CST is part of the effort at DOE to invest in a clean energy workforce that can implement the $8.8 billion Home Energy Rebate Programs other energy efficiency programs that will help homeowners, state and local governments, and businesses save money and fight climate change.
The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) provides application instructions and program guidance. Applicants need to submit a Community Benefits Plan along with their application, detailing how their proposal will support local community and labor and how it will invest in the workforce; advance diversity, equity, and inclusion; and aid economic and environmental justice initiatives.
The CST program aligns with the Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure that 40% percent of the overall benefits of clean energy investments make a difference in communities that are energy burdened and historically underserved.
Applicants can sign up for regular updates here, including a webinar on October 3, 2023, that will provide insights into the FOA and application process.
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