DOE Will Pony Up $144 Million for Smart Grid Workforce Training
By: SGN Staff
Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a $144 million jobs training program to support implementation of the Smart Grid. Chu made his remarks during his keynote speech at the GridWeek 2009 Conference held in Washington, D.C., this week.
The Recovery Act money will be split two ways, according to the DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). A total of $44 million will go directly to state public utility commissions, which regulate and oversee electricity projects at the state level, to hire new staff and retrain existing employees to ensure that they are able to effectively review and evaluate project proposals. The ability to accelerate project proposal reviews is expected to be crucial because of the large number of project requests anticipated under the Recovery Act.
The additional $100 million will support job creation and career advancement opportunities in Smart Grid and electricity transmission projects. It also will support establishment of training programs for utility industry and electrical manufacturing workers to ensure they have the skills needed to build and maintain the new intelligent grid.
"America cannot build a 21st century economy with a mid-20th century electricity system. This is why the Obama administration is investing in projects that will lay the foundation for a modernized, resilient electrical grid,” Secretary Chu said. "By working with industry leaders and the private sector, we can drive the evolution to a clean, smart, national electricity system that will create jobs, reduce energy use, expand renewable energy production, and cut carbon pollution.”
More specifically, $35-$40 million of the $100 million segment will be used to develop training programs and curricula to be used as models in training or retraining workers in the electric power industry. The funding is available to a variety of applicants, including those from utilities, colleges and universities, trade schools and labor organizations. An additional $60-$65 million will be devoted to workforce training programs for new employees and retraining for existing employees of utilities and electrical equipment manufacturers.
Click the links below for more information and to read the full FOA.