Harrisburg, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier today announced four Clean Energy Workforce Development grants for projects that will identify individual employer and collective industry workforce needs, while also developing solutions to those needs.
The grants, totaling $2 million, are designed to create opportunities for individuals from underserved communities to access training while also bolstering Pennsylvania's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This grant program will help to develop practical solutions to improving the clean-energy sector's workforce," said Secretary Berrier. "While the commonwealth and the nation continue their respective recoveries from the pandemic, L&I is committed to making sure the clean-energy sector not only thrives but exceeds industry standards – and that begins by investing in the future of its workers. This money will, among many things, help to promote clean-energy jobs, assist with recruiting efforts and develop strategies for long-term retention."
The four projects were funded at $500,000 each, and are as follows:
This project is a partnership between the workforce development boards of Philadelphia, Bucks, and Delaware Counties to provide support to employers in the clean-energy industry. This support will come in the form of assessment and planning, support in developing strategies to enhance recruitment hiring and retention, and connection to training for new hires and incumbent workers.
Partner4Work will work with Pittsburgh Gateway, Omicelo, a real estate investment firm, and PA CareerLink alongside employers, businesses and additional community partners in Allegheny County to create a coordinated industry partnership that will create a pipeline for individuals from underserved communities to access training and the quality jobs available within the clean-energy sector.
Chester Workforce Development Board
This grant is for a program in Chester, Berks and Montgomery counties through the Chester County Economic Development Council's (CCEDC) Smart Energy Initiative (SEI). The proposed clean energy workforce development program would build on SEI's core mission and capacities: outreach, education, and recruitment of businesses, workforce development partners and individuals. The project's commitment to support clean-energy businesses is equally a commitment to individuals with untapped and unidentified talent across Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties.
Lackawanna County WDB
The Green Clean Serene (GCS) Changing the Global Environment project provides a myriad of activities designed to support business and industry as they maneuver the ever-changing workforce environment and emerge from the impacts of COVID-19. This project is designed to encourage new and continue ongoing systems within business and industry that promote clean-energy practices.
The workforce development projects will kick off July 1, 2022, and continue through June 2025.
For years, clean-energy sector businesses within Pennsylvania have indicated that they are frequently unable to recruit, onboard, and retain workers with the appropriate skillsets, an obstacle worsened by the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A 2021 report from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) found that Pennsylvania – a manufacturing hub for wind, hydro turbine, and ENERGY STAR products – lost 13,200 clean-energy jobs between March and December 2020 – a 14% decline compared to 2019.
Going forward, Pennsylvania's clean-energy sector will require greater numbers of skilled fabricators, assemblers, and other manufacturing workers. Throughout the commonwealth, a growing demand for clean-energy generation and energy efficiency will dictate a need for construction and installation workers such as HVAC mechanics, electricians, and solar photovoltaic installers.
The clean-energy industry includes the technology sectors of energy efficiency, clean-energy generation, alternative transportation, clean grid and storage and clean fuels. Clean-energy sub-sectors include solar, wind, efficient lighting, hydropower, smart grid, electric vehicles, and biomass fuels.
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