IREC Selected as Industry Intermediary to Develop Registered Apprenticeships in Clean Energy
IREC has been selected by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship to serve as an Industry Intermediary for Registered Apprenticeships (RA) in clean energy.
Washington, D.C. (Aug. 7, 2023) — 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-plus-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, Vice President of Equity and Workforce Development at the Solar Energy Industries Association (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.”
“To say that BPA is excited about the Apprenticeships in Clean Energy Network is an understatement. It’s something this industry has needed for a long time and we know how valuable it will be in filling our workforce with skilled, properly trained individuals,” said Steve Skodak, CEO of BPA. “The timing is ideal, too; as federal incentives continue to come in, this program will help us meet growing demand. BPA is proud to be a part of this initiative and we look forward to collaborating with this incredible group of organizations.”
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 service programs like AmeriCorps and YouthBuild mobilize individuals to spend a year getting paid and gaining real-world skills while serving full-time in a local community. We are eager to partner with IREC to connect the tens of thousands of diverse and talented youth who serve each year to Registered Apprenticeship opportunities in the clean energy sector,” said Kristen Bennet, CEO of Service Year Alliance. “Highlighting apprenticeship opportunities for service year corps members can help to build a diverse talent pipeline into the sector and create pathways to meaningful, in-demand careers for the next generation of young Americans.”
“Clean energy firms understand that the talent, innovation, and energy to power their growth will come from ALL our neighbors, from every member of a community contributing unique capacities,” said Chris Nichols, Executive Director of Renewables Forward. “Practicing diversity, delivering equity, and embracing inclusion is a win-win-win: workers, our communities, the climate, and company profits all benefit.”
National outreach efforts will be complemented by outreach at state and local levels through regional affiliate organizations and state working groups. “As Arkansas’ first RA Industry Intermediary for emerging advanced energy careers, we are elated to receive this funding to promote the RA model to our employers and training institutions and encourage participation in the equitable, learn-while-you-earn path for our state’s talent,” says April Ambrose, Director of Workforce Development at AAEF.
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. Interested stakeholders can fill out an interest form to receive program updates.
About the Interstate Renewable Energy Council:
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) builds the foundation for rapid adoption of clean energy and energy efficiency to benefit people, the economy, and our planet. Its vision is a 100% clean energy future that is reliable, resilient, and equitable. IREC develops and advances the regulatory reforms, technical standards, and workforce solutions needed to enable the streamlined integration of clean, distributed energy resources. IREC has been trusted for its independent clean energy expertise for over40 years, since its founding in 1982. For more information, visit www.irecusa.org or follow IREC on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.
This project has been funded, either wholly or in part, with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration under Contract number 1605C2-23-C-0015. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement of the same by the U.S. government.
Media Contact: Avery Palmer, Communications Projects Director, [email protected], 202-302-2765