The U.S. Department of Energy announced last week that 34 projects in 27 states, including $1 million for WorkNet Pinellas in St. Petersburg, have been selected to receive $29 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to develop and expand weatherization training centers across the country. These projects will provide green job training for local workers in energy efficiency retrofitting and weatherization services. With this training, skilled workers can help expand the use of energy efficient practices in America’s homes and businesses.
“A well-trained workforce will be a crucial part of America’s clean energy economy in the years ahead,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. “These investments in efficiency training programs will help build a foundation for long-term growth in America. Energy efficiency improves the competitiveness of our economy, benefits the environment, and puts Americans back to work.”
Using innovative approaches to weatherization training and standardized training curricula, these projects will help prepare weatherization workers, supervisors, and inspectors to maintain a high degree of quality in weatherization projects and to work in the growing field of energy efficiency retrofits. The centers and programs will offer training using a combination of classroom, online, and hands-on learning tools.
This funding will support the expansion of eight existing weatherization training centers and the establishment of 26 new training centers, more than tripling the number of DOE-funded weatherization training centers nationally.
The 34 programs announced today will significantly expand access to weatherization training, while improving the quality and consistency of training nationwide. These investments will continue to build on the Administration’s efforts to expand the green workforce and build a self-sustaining energy retrofit industry that creates high-quality jobs, while improving the environment and saving energy.
Under the Recovery Act, the Obama Administration is making unprecedented investments that are helping to build America’s clean energy future, including $5 billion to significantly ramp up the pace of weatherization in the United States. The training programs announced today will support a range of public and private energy efficiency efforts, including the Department’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which has already funded the weatherization of nearly 200,000 homes since last February, using both Recovery Act and annual program funds.
These weatherization training centers are part of the Department’s broader Training and Technical Assistance program for weatherization, including a variety of online tools, a national training platform, certification and accreditation standards, program evaluations, quality assurance reviews, and peer mentoring.