WASHINGTON — Through a recent three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and its partners will develop an interactive career map that highlights the breadth of rewarding career opportunities in the energy efficiency sectors. With this resource, the partners will conduct extensive outreach to reach a large audience of diverse stakeholders and foster a talent pipeline that is inclusive of low-income and other vulnerable populations.
“Raising awareness about the diversity of meaningful career options in the energy efficiency sectors, particularly among diverse and underserved communities, is crucially important,” said IREC President and CEO Larry Sherwood. “Not only will this work help advance a sustainable economy by fostering a pipeline of qualified energy efficiency workers, it will also ensure the benefits of employment in this area are accessible to more people who need them.”
Key partners in the project include the Building Performance Association (BPA), Building Performance Institute (BPI), the National Community Action Partnership (CAP), the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), and the Home Builders Institute (HBI). Each of these organizations are leaders in the energy efficiency sector and will play a pivotal role in raising awareness of this new resource among key audiences.
IREC specializes in the creation of interactive national clean energy career maps that showcase the breadth of jobs in a particular sector, while quickly facilitating a ‘deep dive’ into an occupation of interest when a user clicks to expand information for each job. Rich job detail and market data showcase not only the career, but the training and certification pathways to get there.
In cooperation with industry subject matter experts, the project team will identify critical, market-valued energy efficiency occupations and career paths to develop the career map. From there, a nationwide outreach campaign with partner and stakeholder organizations will promote careers in energy efficiency, leveraging the Map through conferences, websites, newsletters, email, and social media networks. This outreach will include organizations serving low-income and other vulnerable populations of learners and workers, such as women and minorities, to raise awareness of energy efficiency career options and increase diversity in this important sector.
"Workforce development is the Building Performance Association's number one priority," said BPA CEO Steve Skodak. "Diversity in our workforce is crucial. Contractors need greater access to qualified workers and that simply cannot be done without reaching key audiences, such as women, minorities, and young people. For those already working in energy efficiency, the career map will highlight training and certification pathways to help build the skills our industry needs. We are excited to work with the IREC team and partners who are coming together to create this invaluable resource."
“HBI has long served a wide range of students—many of them of the low-income and underserved populations that stand to benefit from this new interactive career map,” said HBI President and CEO Ed Brady. “Often, the difference between having a robust and diverse talent pipeline or not is a matter of access—to information about what’s available, to the vision of what’s possible for oneself, and to the educational resources to ready oneself for career placement. Addressing these access needs, as this project will, can have a resounding impact on the housing industry currently in need of more than 200,000 skilled trades workers. We’re at a critical moment in history in which we have the opportunity to align positive and meaningful strides in diverse workforce growth with energy sustainability, housing affordability and economic prosperity. Together, there’s a lot we can accomplish.”
“The Community Action Network serve more than 15 million individuals each year,” said Denise Harlow, CEO of CAP. “The Energy Efficiency Career Map will be an important resource to assist individuals who wish to develop skills and create a career ladder in the energy field. A career in energy efficiency is a real opportunity to help move families out of poverty for the long term and toward economic security.”
“BPI is pleased to participate in this important Energy Efficiency Career Map project with IREC,” said BPI CEO Larry Zarker. “BPI has fourteen professional certifications in the market covering the assessment and upgrade of the nation’s 134 million homes. We set national standards for evaluating and upgrading the comfort, health, and safety of homes and certify technicians to ensure quality workmanship. Our programs provide important entry points for anyone considering a career path relating to housing or home health.”
“The National Institute of Building Sciences brings to this project a proven track record of convening disparate groups within the building industry to reach consensus on important practices concerning both workforce development and sustainability,” said NIBS President and CEO Lakisha A. Woods, CAE. “We are looking forward to working with the IREC team and all project stakeholders to create tools that will enable and empower everyone to more fully understand career opportunities in the energy efficiency workforce.”