When the Recovery Act was passed into law, it contained $500 million in competitive grants for “projects that prepare workers for careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors” (i.e. green fields). Last week, the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration released a Training and Employment Notice that describes the initial plans for awarding these funds.
Below you’ll find a quick summary, including details of the five proposed grants:
THE NOTICE gives a background and vision for the grants — the ETA stresses the importance of demonstrating partnerships “between the public workforce system and other public and private systems, including labor management partnerships, education institutions … and research institutions.” The grants are intended to help these partnerships (1) work together to define what green jobs are, and (2) train workers to fill these green jobs.
In the ETA’s vision, states will “gather information on skill qualifications” for green jobs and publicize this information. State workforce investment boards (WIBs) will take initiative within the regional partnerships to get people employed in green jobs, and setting up green training in the region. One-stop centers and other support agencies will benefit from the state and WIB planning and will integrate their work so that “individuals can have access to a comprehensive array of supportive options”.
The ETA also states that “….these organizations and partnerships will assist individuals in entering career pathways leading to economic self-sufficiency.”
“Finally” the ETA states, “it is the Department’s vision for these competitive grants to serve the purpose of training and teaching workers the skills being created in these emerging energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors. These efforts will lead program participants to job placement while leveraging other Recovery Act investments intended to create jobs and promote economic growth.”
BOILED DOWN, the DOL vision states that broad regional partnerships are needed; regions are to define green jobs, devise training around them, and provide as much access as possible to jobseekers. It is also important that these jobs be tied to career pathways, and that the sum total of these efforts be coordinated with other regional ARRA funding.
An overview is then given of potential solicitations. An undefined portion of two of the grants will be reserved to fund projects that serve a region with “at least one motor vehicle manufacturer or automotive part supplier and have experienced significant dislocation.” These will be noted with an (AUTO).
The proposed grants are as follows:
A. State Labor Market Information Improvement Grants — open for competition between State Workforce Agencies or consortia of SWA’s (consortias are greatly encouraged). The grantees will collect, analyze, and disseminate labor market data to help people into green careers.” Activities should be focused on ensuring that workers trained for green jobs will be able to find employment in energy efficiency and renewal energy sectors after they finish training. This means identifying the existing and emerging needs of employers in these emerging industries, in terms of both skills and job openings, and making available employee placement tools to help match workers with those jobs.”
B. Energy Training Partnership Grants (AUTO) — open for national unions with local networks, and regional partnerships which include “labor-management organizations, labor, business, Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), and other organizations.” The grantee will deliver training that leads to green jobs.
C. Pathways Out of Poverty Grants — open to “(1) eligible national community-based and faith-based organizations with local networks; and (2) local partnerships that include community-based organizations, education and training institutions, business, and labor organizations.” Priority will be given to areas of high poverty. Grantees will provide training and placement services with the intent of bringing individuals out of poverty and into green jobs.
D. State Sector Training Grants (AUTO) — open to “SWIBs in partnership with their SWA, local WIBs and One Stop Career Center Systems, or regional consortia of Boards.” Grantees will provide training and job placement activities that is tied to a workforce sector strategy which targets green jobs. It will reflect state energy policies and their impact on the workforce investment system. Successful applicants will show they have strong regional partnerships, relationships with other state agencies receiving ARRA funding, the ability to target a specific industry sector’s needs and provide an integrated system of education, training, and support services.
E. Green Capacity Building Grants — open to any current DOL grantees. Grantees will used funds to update current training and job placement efforts to help Green Jobs projects succeed. Funds can be used to “purchase equipment, staff professional development, curriculum development and/or adaptation, partnership development, and where necessary, the hiring of additional staff.”
The official Solicitations for Grant Applications will be published in June, with application closing dates beginning in the late summer.
THE IMPORTANCE of analyzing skills compatibility between occupations, labor market trends for the energy sector, and job openings/listings is very clear in the ETA’s notice. EMSI’s web-based data analysis tool and new Job Finder tool give regional planners the resources to prepare for these grants.
We have also released a series of green jobs white papers. For the latest paper, focusing on the issues surrounding “green” training, click here. And for more info and potential ways we can help, contact us at 866.999.3674.