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Biden-Harris Administration Announces $24 Million to Expand America’s Clean Energy Workforce and Enhance Manufacturing Efficiency

Biden-Harris Administration Announces  Million to Expand America’s Clean Energy Workforce and Enhance Manufacturing Efficiency

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In support of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced a new $24 million funding opportunity for workforce training programs with a focus on training in clean energy jobs that do not require a four-degree. This funding, from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will further expand the existing Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) network to include more union training programs, community colleges, and trade schools. These IACs support the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of growing our clean energy workforce and boosting the economy by helping small and midsized manufacturers (SMMs) identify opportunities to save costs and increase productivity. 

“When it comes to building up the nation’s workforce, there is no doubt that a clean energy transition means developing new, exciting opportunities,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “More than half of the jobs created by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda won’t require college degrees—great news for anyone considering a career in the vast clean energy sector.”

The centers will build on the recent round of IAC network expansion to: 

  1. Train students and incumbent workers for high-quality careers in clean energy, energy efficiency, and advanced manufacturing that do not require a four-year degree, and 
  2. Help small and midsized manufacturers (SMMs) save money, reduce energy waste, and improve productivity.

Through the solicitation announced today, DOE’s Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains (MESC), with a contribution from the Office of Energy Justice and Equity (EJE), will fund a wide range of workforce training institutions, from community and technical colleges and trade schools to union training programs (including labor-management training programs), industrial apprenticeships, and related internships. This funding also aims to deliver on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which set a goal to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

These new IACs will comprise both new training programs as well as expanded and enhanced manufacturing assistance programs, all of which will work with employer partners to provide hands-on learning for participants alongside technical assistance to strengthen SMMs’ operations.

Applicants will apply to one of three tracks: 

  1. One-year initial planning and capacity building awards of up to $200,000 each for institutions to plan how they will establish a future IAC (with the intent to apply for a Track 2 award in 2025), 
  2. Three-year execution and scale awards of $500,000-$2,000,000 for existing career training programs to become an IAC, and 
  3. Three-year consortia and cohort awards of $4,000,000-$7,000,000 for facilitated groups of colleges, state systems, multi-local union projects, apprenticeship intermediaries, and their IAC-eligible partners to establish several IACs at once.

This solicitation will be managed by DOE’s Partnership Intermediary, ENERGYWERX, who will help reach and support applicants who may have limited experience with DOE funding opportunities. For more information about DOE’s Partnership Intermediary, ENERGYWERX, visit here.

Awarded funds may be used for a range of eligible costs, including curriculum development, instructor recruitment and professional development, student wages to support their provision of hands-on technical assistance at SMMs, supports to help students succeed, and equipment.

Applicants are highly encouraged to create partnerships for their projects, including with existing and newly selected IACs, community organizations, workforce development boards, and industry stakeholders (like original equipment manufacturers), leading to stronger workforce development outcomes and better technical assistance for SMMs. Applicants are also encouraged to align their projects with other Investing in America agenda-supported projects and emerging manufacturing clusters, as detailed at Invest.Gov

The solicitation and application details are available on the ENERGYWERX website here. An informational webinar on this funding opportunity will be held on March 5, 2024, at 3:00p.m. ET – register here. Short concept papers, which are optional, are due on March 28, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. ET. Full applications are due on May 16, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. ET. Learn about the Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains and the Office of Energy Justice and Equity.  

Continued Support for IACs

This expansion of workforce development offerings from DOE builds on the legacy of the Department’s successful hands-on workforce training programs and partnerships. Over more than four decades, the IAC Program, managed by MESC, has provided more than 21,000 energy assessments at SMMs, which comprise more than 90% of the nation’s manufacturing entities. IACs typically identify more than $150,000 in potential annual energy savings opportunities for every manufacturer assessed. Today, DOE-supported IACs exist or are being created at more than 50 universities, community colleges, trade schools, and union training programs in 33 states across the country.

Official news published at https://www.energy.gov/articles/biden-harris-administration-announces-24-million-expand-americas-clean-energy-workforce

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