IREC selected to develop clean energy registered apprenticeship network

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The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has been selected by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship (US-DOL OA) to serve as an Industry Intermediary for Registered Apprenticeships (RA) in clean energy.

This means IREC will lead the Apprenticeships in Clean Energy (ACE) Network, a national coalition of workforce development leaders, in the creation and expansion of RA opportunities in the clean energy industry.

“Registered Apprenticeships will be a key tool for developing, scaling, and sustaining a diverse pipeline of trained talent ready to power the transition to a clean energy future,” said Larry Sherwood, President and CEO of IREC. “We are proud to be leading efforts to expand Registered Apprenticeships across the clean energy sector and are thrilled to have convened an exceptional team of partners to support this critical work.”

RA programs are well established as an essential training model across many major industries, and hold tremendous potential to similarly advance high-quality clean energy career pathways. Stakeholders should fill out an interest form to receive program updates.

As clean energy jobs are poised for rapid, historic growth over the next decade, there is heightened interest and an immediate need among clean energy employers for high-quality technical assistance and information sharing networks to advance RA programs across a variety of sectors and occupations. The ACE Network offers the strategic partnerships and deep expertise needed to design, implement, expand, and sustain high-quality RA pathways to clean energy careers.

The Inflation Reduction Act has driven a ton of interest in RA programs, as apprentices are required for projects to earn the 30 percent investment tax credit. The ACE Network will focus employer engagement on the commercial and utility scale sectors of the solar-plus-storage and energy efficiency industries.

“Registered Apprenticeship programs will help us develop and scale a skilled and diverse workforce that is ready to power the clean energy transition,” said Erika Symmonds, Vice President of Equity and Workforce Development at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “This award marks a pivotal milestone in our ongoing commitment to develop the next generation of solar workers and opens the door for us to broaden our impact alongside the Solar and Storage Industries Institute, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, and other ACE Network partners.”

ACE Network partners include:

  • the Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation (IWSI),
  • Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
  • Solar and Storage Industries Institute (SI2),
  • Building Performance Association (BPA),
  • Service Year Alliance (SYA),
  • National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB),
  • Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation (AAEF),
  • the HBCU Clean Energy Initiative (HBCU CEI),
  • Renewables Forward, and
  • the Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education (CREATE).

IREC was also recently named a DOL Apprenticeship Ambassador, recognizing the organization’s work to advance Registered Apprenticeship opportunities in the clean energy industry through the Solar Ready Vets Network.

The ACE Network will prioritize Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) in new clean energy RA program design, and will implement an outreach and recruitment plan that specifically centers on engagement and inclusion of underserved communities and underrepresented populations.

“National service programs like AmeriCorps and YouthBuild mobilize individuals to spend a year getting paid and gaining real-world skills while serving full-time in a local community. We are eager to partner with IREC to connect the tens of thousands of diverse and talented youth who serve each year to Registered Apprenticeship opportunities in the clean energy sector,” said Kristen Bennet, CEO of Service Year Alliance. “Highlighting apprenticeship opportunities for service year corps members can help to build a diverse talent pipeline into the sector and create pathways to meaningful, in-demand careers for the next generation of young Americans.”

National outreach efforts will be complemented by outreach at state and local levels through regional affiliate organizations and state working groups.

“As Arkansas’ first RA Industry Intermediary for emerging advanced energy careers, we are elated to receive this funding to promote the RA model to our employers and training institutions and encourage participation in the equitable, learn-while-you-earn path for our state’s talent,” says April Ambrose, Director of Workforce Development at AAEF.

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