A new contractor training program funded by $150 million in grants to states will help to grow the workforce necessary to implement residential efficiency and electrification projects, the U.S. Department of Energy announced Monday.
The State-Based Home Energy Efficiency Contractor Training Grants Program will “attract and educate new workers in the energy efficiency industry, train and empower existing workers, and support business owners to make homes healthier and more energy efficient,” DOE said.
The grants will help speed the energy transition by training workers capable of implementing projects qualifying for incentives under DOE’s Home Energy Rebates Program, which will issue $8.8 billion to state energy offices for residential projects.
“As our nation moves towards a clean energy future, there is a growing demand for trained, certified workers,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.
Texas will receive the largest allocation of DOE’s funding, at $11.7 million. California will receive $10.3 million; New York, $6.4 million; and Florida, $6 million.
Rhode Island will receive about $1.2 million. The workforce development grant is a win for both the state’s economy and environment, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said in a statement. The funding will allow the state’s Office of Energy Resources to “train, test, and certify residential energy efficiency and electrification contractors who can work with residents across the state to lower their energy bills,” he said.
The contractor training grants will “help attract new workers, and provide them with the skills they need,” said Vincent Graziano, president and CEO of The RISE Group, which implements efficiency projects. The grants represent “a comprehensive approach to the challenges we face,” he said.
Applications are due Sept. 30, and must be accompanied by a community benefit plan describing how the proposals will contribute to the Biden administration’s Justice40 Initiative, which calls for 40% of the benefits of certain investments to flow to disadvantaged communities.