Clean Energy Apprenticeships: Making an Impact After Your Term of Service
You’ve completed your years of service in AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, or many similar programs. How can you continue making a difference? America’s growing clean energy sector offers a prime opportunity for young Americans with a background in service who are entering the job market.
So how can you break in to the clean energy industry? Read on to find out about Registered Apprenticeships: a time-honored way to learn on the job while you start earning money right now.
This resource was prepared by Service Year Alliance.
What is an Apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships allow workers to earn progressive wage increases as they advance through training that prepares them for a career in an in-demand occupation. Registered Apprenticeships combine structured on-the-job training, under the supervision of a mentor, with related classroom instruction that leads to a nationally recognized credential. An apprenticeship typically takes between 2-5 years to complete, and in many ways, the credential earned is similar to a college degree in a particular field of study.
Who Should Consider Pursuing an Apprenticeship Opportunity?
Apprenticeships can be valuable for a variety of individuals of all ages and across different stages of their life, education, and career. The earn-while-learning nature of apprenticeships creates equitable opportunities for individuals to pursue family sustaining careers while helping to avoid educational debt. Recent high school or college graduates can gain industry-specific skills and enhance their overall employability towards careers that are not limited to entry-level positions. Many apprenticeship programs will prepare individuals to enter into traditional trades, such as careers in electrical work. Others offer opportunities for individuals to pursue managerial or office-based career paths.
What Are the Opportunities Within the Clean Energy Sector?
As a result of our nation’s recent investments to combat climate change, it is estimated that more than 9 million good-paying jobs related to climate and environmental resilience will be created over the next 10 years. Employers, especially those within the clean energy sector, are seeking to attract diverse talent to fill these impactful positions. Below are some examples of the growing apprenticeship opportunities adjacent to the clean energy sector.
Construction and Skilled Trades
Carpenter, Carpenter (Pile Driver), Cement Mason, Construction Craft Laborer, Electrician , Electrician (Interior),Electrician (Lineworker), Electrician (Residential), Electrician (Substation Glazier, HVAC Installer/Technician, Insulator, Iron Worker (Reinforcing), Iron Worker (Structural), Millwright, Operating Engineer, Pipefitter, Plumber, Rigger, Roofer, Weatherization Technician Operating Engineer, Wind Turbine Technician
Customer Service Representative, Cybersecurity Specialist, Designer Drafter, Energy Auditor, Human Resources Specialist, Maintenance Repairer, Network and Computer Systems Administrator, Manufacturing Technician, Mechanical Engineer, Mechatronics Technician, Operations Manager, Project Manager, Purchasing Agent, Software Developers, Technical Sales Representative, Recruiter, Training and Development Specialist, Transportation Storage and Distribution Manager, Wind Turbine Technician
Why are national service alums a valuable applicant pool for clean energy employers?
Some of the key attributes that are commonly developed during a service year that strongly resonate with clean energy employers include: being mission driven, community engagement experience, compassionate customer service, willingness to travel, knowledge of tool use and safety, drivers training, work etiquette and ethic, communication skills, teamwork & collaboration, problem solving abilities, ability to work in inclement weather and environments, experience with data entry.
Where can you go to learn more about clean energy career paths and apprenticeships?
- The Interstate Renewable Energy Council Career Maps are a great starting place to learn more about the breadth of clean energy adjacent career paths.
- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Finder can be used to identify clean-energy apprenticeship opportunities in areas and locations of interest to you. Use the apprenticeable occupations list featured above to search for apprenticeship programs that feature the occupations that are of most interest to you.
- Stop by an American Job Center to receive additional support in identifying opportunities in clean energy.
- Green Workforce Connect is an emerging hub for energy efficiency and clean energy career resources and opportunities.
- Top job boards serving the clean energy sector include:
About the Apprenticeships in Clean Energy (ACE) Network
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) was selected by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship to serve as an Industry Intermediary for Registered Apprenticeships for clean energy. Through the Apprenticeships in Clean Energy (ACE) Network, IREC leads a national coalition of industry, training, and workforce development leaders to expand and diversify Registered Apprenticeship opportunities in the rapidly evolving clean energy sector.
This project has been funded, either wholly or in part, with Federal funds from the 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 same by the U.S. Government.