Your auto’s AC needs service – where do you go? You’re going to Aruba and you want to know how to SCUBA? Your daughter is doing a 500-hour Yoga training to be certified. Did you know that all of these critical work functions have a recognized credential?
Credentials, whether certification or licensure, indicate a level of commitment, learning and experience. It conveys a level of confidence for the consumer that the person doing the job knows what they’re doing. As for me, I’m putting my money and confidence on someone—or some organization—that’s credentialed.
But how is the credential developed? Who comes up with the criteria for critical work functions? Who establishes the curriculum? Say hello to the job task analysis (JTA).
“At its very basic, a JTA is the heart of any credentialing program for training providers,” says Pat Fox, IREC’s Director of Operations. “A JTA is based on core knowledge areas, essential work functions, and skills for workers in that field.” A well-constructed JTA will help you perform your job—whether you’re a Yoga instructor, an auto mechanic, or a SCUBA instructor, and it’ll help you perform it competently.
According to the ISPQ Candidate Handbook, the JTA lists knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA’s) that a practitioner needs in order to perform a given job appropriately. Facilitated by a psychometrician, JTA’s are developed by committees of subject matter experts (SME’s) who apply specific job experience for specific technologies within the renewable energy, energy efficiency and distributed generation sectors.
“Developing a JTA is a very complex process,” said Fox. “The psychometrician guides the SME’s to identify and document all of the KSA’s that someone needs to perform successfully on the job. Sequentially, the KSA’s support the JTA. “It’s not something you can come up with in a weekend. Realistically, it takes between one and two years to develop a JTA,” says Fox. And yes, credentialing has its very own set of acronyms.
Psychometrics measures knowledge, abilities, attitudes and personality traits and educational measurement (thanks, Wikipedia). Those who practice psychometrics are known as psychometricians.
IREC’s ISPQ Candidate Handbook (pg. 4) has very specific guidelines it uses to evaluate and approve a JTA for its ISPQ Accreditation and Certification Program. If an applicable JTA doesn’t exist for the sector, IREC encourages applicants to use SME’s to develop a JTA.
Since the mid 1990’s (was it really that long ago?), IREC figured out that credentialing of renewable energy training programs and trainers was crucial if the industry was to survive and emerge as a sustainable, dynamic workforce. IREC, along with some other very smart people, developed the ISPQ Standard—it specifies requirements for competency, quality systems, resources, management, administration, and qualification of a curriculum against which trainers and training programs can be evaluated. Since 2005, the ISPQ credential has become an important and desirable credential to have, for both training programs and trainers of renewable energy practitioners.
According to Fox, there are 49 renewable energy training programs (for both training programs and continuing education providers), and 59 renewable energy trainers who hold IREC’s ISPQ Credential.
Just this year, IREC’s ISPQ Standard expanded to include the energy efficiency and weatherization sectors. Fox said that the influx of money, coupled with the expansion of federal, state and local goals related to energy efficiency is driving exponential growth in this sector.
“Through the work led by NREL and supported by DOE through the Home Energy Retrofit Initiative, groups of SMEs facilitated by a psychometrician developed Standard Work Specifications (SWS), KSAs and JTAs for the job categories of installer, crew chief, energy auditor, and quality control inspector in the energy efficiency and weatherization fields,” said Fox.
“This means that training providers in this field now have the tools to develop quality programs based on consistent standards and IREC now has the tools it needs (JTAs) to fully assess training providers in these areas for accreditation and certification.”
Got those acronyms straight?
Here are details about those four new energy efficiency and weatherization JTAs:
- Quality Control Inspector is an evaluator who verifies the work performed against the work plan, specifications and standards, performs building diagnostics, records/reports findings and concerns, and specifies corrective actions; by conducting a methodological audit/inspection of the building, performing safety and diagnostic tests, and by observing the retrofit work; in order to ensure the completion, appropriateness and quality of the work providing for the safety, comfort, and energy savings of the building occupants.
- Energy Auditor is a building scientist who evaluates the energy efficiency and health & safety of a building and identifies areas for savings by gathering empirical data, conducting tests and using energy modeling software, in order to reduce the energy consumption, improve the safety, and increase the lifespan of a building; while improving the quality of life and comfort for building occupants.
- Crew Leader is responsible for supervising the retrofitting activities specified in the scope of work. He or she is responsible for interacting with the client plus managing personnel and materials on the job site in a safe and effective manner. The Crew Leader is responsible for quality control, testing procedures, documentation, and conducting a final walk through to ensure that all work is completed in a satisfactory manner.
- Retrofit Installer Technician installs energy efficiency measures to single family or 2 – 4 unit homes using a variety of building sciences best practices to improve safety, comfort, durability, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency.
“This rapid growth has created an urgent need for standards and quality training to develop a workforce that can perform successfully on the job and deliver quality to the consumer,” said Fox. “IREC is delighted to see the SWS, KSAs and JTAs for these job categories and our ISPQ team is fully focused on beginning the assessment of training providers to help support this sector. “
Now that the JTAs are available for those four job categories, IREC is fully ready to accept applications for programs and trainers in the energy efficiency and weatherization space. “We already have a handful of Letters of Intent (LOIs), predominantly for programs,” said Fox.
IREC’s ISPQ program plans on having informational webinars on how to apply later this year. In the meantime, candidates who are interested in applying should review the Candidate Information Handbook.
For more information, contact IREC’s ISPQ program at firstname.lastname@example.org. or call 518.621.7379.