Labor Department Offers $500 Million for Clean Energy Job Training

July 1, 2009

The U.S. Department of Labor recently launched five grant competitions, totaling $500 million, to fund projects that prepare workers for green jobs in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. Four of the competitions serve workers through various national, state, and community outlets. These include Energy Training Partnership Grants, which aim to train workers in green industries, with some money earmarked for those leaving the auto industries; Pathways Out of Poverty Grants, which seek to engage national nonprofits, as well as local agencies that have networks for re-educating workers; State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grants, designed to help states refine their energy sector strategies to build up a trained workforce, particularly in areas hurt by auto industry upheaval; and Green Capacity Building Grants, which beef up existing Labor Department programs to ensure that there's a large enough pool of green-trained workers to meet demands.

The fifth competition, for State Labor Market Information Improvement Grants, will fund state workforce agencies that collect, analyze, and disseminate labor market information, while also encouraging collaboration among states. Those grants are also meant to help direct individuals to careers in green industries. The five grant solicitations were published in the June 24 edition of the Federal Register, and the grants will be funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In an effort to earn the maximum return on each investment, the Labor Department is encouraging grantees to align their work with other federal agencies' Recovery Act investments intended to create jobs and promote economic growth. Combining funds from different agencies can help worker training programs get more bang for the buck and put more people to work in the clean energy industry. See the Labor Department press release and the grant solicitations for Energy Training Partnership Grants, with applications due September 4; Pathways Out of Poverty Grants, due September 29; State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grants, due October 20; Green Capacity Building Grants, due August 5; and State Labor Market Information Improvement Grants, due August 14.