The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has been selected by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship (US-DOL OA) to serve as an Industry Intermediary for Registered Apprenticeships (RA) in clean energy.
Through the contract, IREC will lead the Apprenticeships in Clean Energy (ACE) Network, a national coalition of industry, education and workforce development leaders to create, expand and diversify RA opportunities in the clean energy industry.
As clean energy jobs are poised for rapid, historic growth over the next decade, there is heightened interest and an immediate need among clean energy employers for high-quality technical assistance and information sharing networks to advance RA programs across a variety of sectors and occupations. The ACE Network offers the strategic partnerships and deep expertise needed to design, implement, expand and sustain high-quality RA pathways to clean energy careers.
ACE Network partners include the Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation (IWSI), Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Solar and Storage Industries Institute (SI2), Building Performance Association (BPA), Service Year Alliance (SYA), National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB), Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation (AAEF), the HBCU Clean Energy Initiative (HBCU CEI), Renewables Forward and the Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education (CREATE).
“Registered Apprenticeships will be a key tool for developing, scaling and sustaining a diverse pipeline of trained talent ready to power the transition to a clean energy future,” said Larry Sherwood, president and CEO of IREC. “We are proud to be leading efforts to expand Registered Apprenticeships across the clean energy sector and are thrilled to have convened an exceptional team of partners to support this critical work.”
IREC was also recently named a DOL Apprenticeship Ambassador, recognizing the organization’s work to advance Registered Apprenticeship opportunities in the clean energy industry through the Solar Ready Vets Network.
A rapid transition to renewable energy has the potential to create millions of high-quality jobs, and boost economic investment in communities nationwide. However, the pace of the transition also presents a once-in-a-century skills and workforce development challenge.
“The Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation has more than four decades of experience in developing apprenticeship and workforce development strategies in partnership with industry. We are excited to partner with IREC, the US-DOL OA and our experienced project partners on such a significant project,” said IWSI executive director Nicholas Wyman. “Expanding the scale of registered apprenticeship across the clean energy sector will help ensure the U.S. economy has the skilled and experienced energy workers available to fully capitalize on the economic opportunities of the clean energy transition.”
As the Inflation Reduction Act drives interest in RA programs, the ACE Network will focus employer engagement on the commercial and utility scale sectors of the solar + storage and energy efficiency industries.
“Registered Apprenticeship programs will help us develop and scale a skilled and diverse workforce that is ready to power the clean energy transition,” said Erika Symmonds, VP of equity and workforce development at SEIA. “This award marks a pivotal milestone in our ongoing commitment to develop the next generation of solar workers and opens the door for us to broaden our impact alongside the Solar and Storage Industries Institute, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and other ACE Network partners. Our vision for the clean energy future centers around people. We’re excited to embark on this journey to create opportunities for all individuals who want to contribute to this transition and to equip them with the skills they need.”
The ACE Network will prioritize Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) in new clean energy RA program design, and will implement an outreach and recruitment plan that specifically centers on engagement and inclusion of underserved communities and underrepresented populations.
National outreach efforts will be complemented by outreach at state and local levels through regional affiliate organizations and state working groups.
RA programs are well-established as an essential training model across many major industries, and hold tremendous potential to similarly advance high-quality clean energy career pathways. Stakeholders should fill out an interest form to receive program updates.
News item from IREC