The Apprenticeships in Clean Energy (ACE) Network is a national coalition that advances Registered Apprenticeships (RAs) for U.S. clean energy industries. It is supported by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) along with a diverse network of partners.

The ACE Network offers no-cost technical assistance to facilitate the development, implementation, expansion, diversification, and sustainability of clean energy RAs. The Network has limited financial assistance available to support RA programs, and can assist in identifying additional sources of funding. 

Who is eligible for financial incentives?

ACE Network financial incentives support apprentices in clean energy industries, such as solar, wind, building performance, electric vehicles, and energy storage. These incentives are primarily intended for employers who develop new RA programs, but are also available for a “group sponsor” that supports multiple employers. A fixed amount of incentives are available through the ACE Network each year, which are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.  Employers and sponsors must be directly engaged with the ACE Network’s free technical assistance services to be eligible for incentives.  

How much funding can I receive?

Incentive funding is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Organizations receiving technical assistance through the ACE Network are eligible for up to $1,000 per apprentice hired, provided at least half of all apprentices supported are from underrepresented groups—defined as women, people of color, and disabled individuals. In other words, the organization must fund at least one apprentice from an underrepresented group before funding a non-disabled, white male apprentice. Incentives are capped at a maximum of $40,000 per employer.

How can I use the financial incentives?

Incentive funds can support the costs associated with recruiting candidates and developing, registering, and implementing RA programs. These incentives can be used to help offset the cost of providing in-person or online training to apprentices (known as related training instruction). They can also be used to support on-the-job training costs, excluding wages; train-the-trainer tasks; training equipment; curricula development; and supportive services, such as childcare, transportation, tools, and supplies. 

Am I eligible if I am already receiving other grant funding to support RAs?

Yes. Incentive funds can and should be “braided” with other grants and funding resources to provide supportive services. Leveraging funds and partnerships with state and local entities, and other stakeholders is also encouraged to support retention and long-term sustainability. The incentive funds from the ACE Network should be used for different needs than those covered by the other funding sources.

Can I re-apply for additional incentive funds?

Yes. If your organization has already received ACE Network incentive funds and adds new apprentices, you may apply for additional incentive funds, subject to availability, demographic requirements, and the caps of $1,000 per apprentice and $40,000 per employer, as outlined above.

Are incentives paid directly to sponsors, employers, or both?

Financial incentives may be paid directly to the employer or sponsor, if the sponsor is different from the employer. Employers, once approved, may choose for incentive payments to be paid to themselves or directly to the sponsor as indicated in the invoice.

If a sponsor has multiple employers, each employer may apply for funding. However, a sponsor and its affiliated employer may not both receive funds for the same apprentice.

How do I apply for funding?

Each employer fills out and submits a Letter of Commitment (LOC) and one-page Incentive Funding Plan. Once the LOC has been reviewed, approved, signed, and returned by IREC as part of the agreement from both parties, approved employers may start submitting invoices (template will be provided) along with W9 and RAPIDS (Registered Apprenticeship Partners Information Database System) ID numbers. If RAPIDS IDs are not available, demographic information on the enrolled apprentices for which incentive funds are being requested must be submitted (template will be provided) along with the invoice and W9. Once the apprentice information has been reviewed and verified by IREC and DOL, payment will be processed.

Please note that all documentation should be submitted through [email protected].

When is the deadline to apply?

The deadline to apply for funding under the first year of the program is May 31, 2024. Following that date, applications will be considered for funding under the program’s second year. Keep in mind that since total funding is limited, earlier applicants will have a greater chance of receiving incentive funds. Once again, funds are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Other than these incentives, what other support is available?

We recognize that given the limited funding available, not all interested organizations will be able to receive these incentives. Fortunately, other resources and support are available from the ACE Network. We offer no-cost technical assistance to help you through the process of developing RA programs. We can also help you find other resources or funding opportunities that may be available. 

How do I get started?

If you are not already receiving technical assistance from the ACE Network, complete this intake form to get started. We’ll have a representative get in touch with you shortly to discuss resources to help you develop RA programs, including financial incentives available. If you have questions, contact Richard Lawrence, Senior Director, Workforce and Industry Engagement at IREC, for more information at [email protected].

Our Partners

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.