Energy Department to award $100M for smart grid workforce training

September 23, 2009 by Emsi Burning Glass

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U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced $144 million in (ARRA) awards for the electric power sector. This includes $44 million for “state and public utility commissions” and $100 million for “smart grid workforce training programs.”

The workforce training program dollars are aimed at supporting “the development of training programs at utilities, colleges, universities, and other organizations and the rollout to electric utility workers and electrical equipment manufacturers.”

There are also two primary focus areas under the workforce training category:

  • $35-$40 million for training programs, strategies, and curricula that will be used as models for how to train or retrain workers in the electric power sector. The focus here must be on the “clean energy smart grid.” Potential applicants: Utilities, Colleges, Universities, Trade Schools, Labor Organizations.

  • $60-$65 million to conduct workforce training programs for new hires and retraining programs for electric utility workers and electrical equipment manufacturers to further knowledge of smart grid technologies and their implementation.

Application Due Date: 11/30/09

To help you with your application process we have put together the following materials.

First, the Program Justification Report can help you take a look at what training programs currently exist around the energy sector.

Second, with Economic Forecaster, you can build a region and take a very in-depth look at the industries and occupations associated with the energy sector. This will help you diagnose growth and decline and where training might need to occur.

Third, with Career Pathways, we can help you learn more about the sorts of skills energy occupations require and see what other workers could be transitioned into the energy sector.

Fourth, right now we are working on breaking out industries by demographics. These enhancements should be hitting our web-based tools in the coming months. For now if you want to look at the demographics of the energy industry in your area, please let us know and we will see what we can do. An understanding of the current demographics of your energy sector should help you anticipate the need for replacement workers (as a result of retirements).

Finally, over the past year we’ve worked with the Center for Energy Workforce Development in coming up with several supply and demand reports on the energy labor force for every state, multi-state regions, and the nation. The supply reports look at the number of graduates in specific energy fields, and the demand reports analyze annual openings — using new and replacement jobs — in these fields. If you would like to look at the data for your area, please let us know.

Click for here for a case study and let us know if you’re interested in this data for your region.