Home > Uncategorized > Training the next generation of smart grid workers

Training the next generation of smart grid workers

Mike Rowe presented a TED talk in Monterey, CA in 2008 that celebrated working hard and argued that one of the most concerning trends in our country today is the declining numbers of skilled tradesman – plumbers and electricians – and perhaps more frightening to me, the country’s lack of desire to roll up their sleeves and work.

Today, in a step toward providing the skilled labor needed to fill jobs in our future energy economy, Secretary Chu announced $100 million in DOE grants for smart grid workforce training. These funds, the latest distributions from the Recovery Act, will be distributed among the states, with the largest state grants going to Washington, Illinois, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

This money will provide Americans with the opportunity to pursue training in the energy field. Other emerging fields in this industry have struggled to find enough skilled workers to supply their needs. These DOE grants will allow the smart grid industry to preemptively strike against their future need for skilled labor – though how successful they will be is yet to be seen.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 10, 2010 at 1:03 am

    On a related note:
    Just to bring this home a bit, here is the Travis County workforce Board press release regarding the almost FIVE MILLION awarded by the Department of Labor to the Austin Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (AEJATC), Workforce Solutions, and Imagine Solar:

    The press release estimates that this grant will pay for ~950 workers to receive a combination of electrical and specialized solar installer training within the first 12 months of the contract. The training will be similar to the “PV201: PV Design and Installation” course that is currently offered by Imagine Solar for $1,295 plus the cost of the NABCEP Certification Exam. (Listed here: http://imaginesolar.com/ )

    The free training being coordinated through AEJATC is targeted at current Construction Wiremen / Construction Electricians, Apprentices, and Journeyworker Electricians. However, you can also qualify for the program if you are currently in the Reserve forces of the military. That is how I qualified for the program.

    The specifics of the program, including eligibility and suitability requirements, are listed here:

    Peter Brodeur, Training Project Manager at Workforce Solutions – Capital Area, is collecting and responding to the application forms, available here: http://bit.ly/bqjl9f

    My impression is that AEJATC is working hard to process applications and fill classes as quickly as possible.

    Imagine Solar instructors are going to be very busy for a while, and Central Texas is going to have a significant injection of workers that are ready to install PV on rooftops around town.

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