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FACT SHEET: Examples of Administration Activities for Energy-Related Employment and Workforce Training

FACT SHEET: Examples of Administration Activities for Energy-Related Employment and Workforce Training

  • Solar Ready Vets Program: DOE, in partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD), is launching a Solar Ready Vets program at 10 military bases across the country, including at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, which has already taken leadership by installing solar panels onsite. The program also includes participation from Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Carson in Colorado, and Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, all which announced pilot initiatives earlier this year and are serving as a model for the Solar Ready Vets program. The Solar Ready Vets program will train transitioning military service personnel to enter the solar workforce by joining with SunShot’s Solar Instructor Training Network and leveraging the DoD’s SkillBridge transition authority authorized by Congress in 2012. Consistent with the Vice-President’s job-driven training agenda, the program is based on the specific needs of high-growth solar employers, is tailored to build on the technician skills that veterans have acquired through their service, and incorporates work-based learning strategies. Service members will learn how to size and install solar panels, connect electricity to the grid, and interpret and comply with local building codes. This accelerated training will prepare them for careers in the solar industry as installers, sales representatives, system inspectors, and other solar-related occupations.
  • The Administration’s Ready to Work Initiative, led by the Office of the Vice President, and passage in 2014 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act have led to several important efforts in the energy sector. In addition to the significant investments in energy and advanced manufacturing workforce training described in this section, the newly formed Skills Working Group, an interagency task force of 13 Federal agencies chaired by the Secretary of Labor, has focused on the energy sector as one of six key opportunity areas for expanding apprenticeships, building career pathways to the middle class, and initiating place-based initiatives to expand opportunities to underserved communities.
  • The President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget proposed the POWER+ Plan to help these communities adapt to the changing energy landscape and build a better future. The POWER+ Plan invests in workers and jobs, addresses important legacy costs in coal country, and drives development of coal technology. This year, the Administration will make a down payment on the POWER+ Plan by beginning to implement a key part of the effort—the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization initiative. The initiative will be a coordinated effort involving multiple Federal agencies, with the goal of effectively aligning, leveraging, and targeting a range of Federal economic and workforce development programs and resources to assist communities negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector.
  • Through First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative, businesses have hired nearly 700,000 veterans and military spouses, including energy companies, and 49 states have removed credentialing impediments for separating service members.
  • In April 2015, the Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with the Department of Defense, launched a Solar Ready Vets program at 10 military bases across the country. The program also includes participation from Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Carson in Colorado, and Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia—all of which announced pilot initiatives earlier this year and are serving as models for the Solar Ready Vets program—and Hill Air Force Base in Utah. The program will support DOE in meeting its goal to train 75,000 people to enter the solar workforce by 2020, some of whom will be veterans.
  • DOE’s technical and financial resources, primarily focused on the development and deployment of energy technology, are playing a significant role in the Skills Working Group. Those activities include identifying new opportunities for apprenticeships and career pathways, such as in the solar industry where DOE’s SunShot Initiative worked with the industry to develop the Solar Instructors Training Network. The network created a training curriculum for teaching photovoltaic installation in community colleges and then successfully trained 800 faculty members in 400 institutions who in turn graduated 30,000 students.
  • The Veterans Economic Communities Initiative is a VA campaign focused on 50 U.S. cities across the country – beginning with 25 this summer – to promote economic success for Veterans and their families. As part of the initiative, a VA Economic Liaison in each community will expand and encourage collaboration among private and public organizations that offer resources related to Veteran education, training and employment. Through strategic partnerships, and by offering Veterans innovative learning and employment opportunities, these communities will help Veterans gain competitive career skills and knowledge in locally in-demand fields. VECI communities across the country can serve as launching pads for targeted recruitment and training of transitioning Servicemembers, Veterans and their families to begin meaningful careers in the utility industry.
  • The Department of Labor has granted nearly $2 billion in Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grants to approximately 700 community colleges across the country, including a concentration on energy and associated advanced manufacturing. Additionally, in December 2014, the Department of Labor announced the American Apprenticeship Grants Competition—a $100-million grant program to launch apprenticeship models in high-growth fields, such as energy, and expand apprenticeship models that work. This initiative to expand “hands-on” learning is part of a broader goal to double the number of apprenticeships in the United States in the next 5 years.
  • DOE has created its new Jobs Council, which brings together the diverse energy programs of the Department with its laboratories and technology resources to accelerate job creation across all energy sectors in partnership with other Federal agencies, the private sector, and state and local governments. Along with the SunShot Initiative, other successful programs in this area include the Carbon Fiber Consortium (a partnership of laboratories, materials companies, and educational institutions) and the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (a crosscutting initiative focused on clean energy products and processes), among many others.
  • DOE has been deeply engaged with both traditional and new energy sectors, developing curricula and/or certification standards for the solar, unconventional natural gas extraction, and building energy efficiency industries, for instance. For example, DOE’s partnership with the National Institute of Building Sciences is working to establish a common certification for five specific energy management positions by establishing the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines through the Commercial Workforce Credentialing Council. DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, partnered with Westmoreland Community College to develop an industry-specific initiative, ShaleNet, which utilized a three-dimensional simulator for use in training for the natural gas industry. This effort succeeded in graduating and placing thousands of new employees in that rapidly growing industry. In addition, through DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity and its new Jobs Council, the Department’s programs have focused on driving energy opportunities to traditionally underserved communities, as well as to veterans and other specific populations.