Pa. awards $2M in clean energy grants to boost workforce development | Friday Morning Coffee
The grants are intended to help individuals from underserved communities, the administration said
Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
The Wolf administration has announced that it’s awarded a total of $2 million in grants to four clean energy entities to help them address recruiting and retention issues — a challenge that was made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry said the grants will “identify individual employer and collective industry workforce needs, while also developing solutions to those needs,” and are intended to create opportunities for people from underserved communities.
Like other sectors, the industry was hit hard by the economic downturn from the pandemic, the agency said, pointing to a 2021 report from the Department of Environmental Protection showing that the state lost 13,200 clean-energy jobs between March and December 2020. That’s a 14 percent decline compared to 2019, the administration said.
“This grant program will help to develop practical solutions to improving the clean-energy sector’s workforce,” Labor & Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier said.
“While the commonwealth and the nation continue their respective recoveries from the pandemic, L&I is committed to making sure the clean-energy sector not only thrives but exceeds industry standards – and that begins by investing in the future of its workers,” Berrier continued. “This money will, among many things, help to promote clean-energy jobs, assist with recruiting efforts and develop strategies for long-term retention.”
The entities benefiting from the Clean Energy Workforce Development grants ($500,000 each) are:
“This project is a partnership between the workforce development boards of Philadelphia, Bucks, and Delaware counties to provide support to employers in the clean-energy industry,” the agency said in its statement. “This support will come in the form of assessment and planning, support in developing strategies to enhance recruitment hiring and retention, and connection to training for new hires and incumbent workers.”
“Partner4Work will work with Pittsburgh Gateway, Omicelo, a real estate investment firm, and PA CareerLink alongside employers, businesses and additional community partners in Allegheny County to create a coordinated industry partnership that will create a pipeline for individuals from underserved communities to access training and the quality jobs available within the clean-energy sector,” officials said.
Chester Workforce Development Board (WDB):
This grant “is for a program in Chester, Berks and Montgomery counties through the Chester County Economic Development Council’s (CCEDC) Smart Energy Initiative (SEI),” officials said.
Lackawanna County WDB
“The Green Clean Serene (GCS) Changing the Global Environment project provides a myriad of activities designed to support business and industry as they maneuver the ever-changing workforce environment and emerge from the impacts of COVID-19,” the agency said.
The workforce development projects start on July 1 and run through June 2025, the administration said.
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John L. Micek