Topics Of Interest
Renewable Energy Sector: Department of Energy, IREC and ARC Updates
Department of Energy Announces New Funding Investment
The U.S. solar industry employs about 119,000 workers at more than 5,600 companies across every state. Since 2010, the solar industry has created nearly 20,000 new American jobs. To support this growing workforce and a new generation of clean energy leaders, the Department of is providing training for engineers and utility workers as well as student research opportunities.
As part of its October 22, 2013 announcement of a new $60 million investment to drive affordable, efficient solar power, the Department notes a subvention of approximately $15 million to develop power engineering curriculum and launch four regional training consortiums.
Led by U.S. universities, utilities, and industry, these consortiums will train the next generation of energy engineers, system operators, and utility professionals.
The Department is also awarding about $1 million to Delaware State University and the University of Texas at Austin to provide solar energy research and education opportunities to minority students.
IREC Issues Annual Updates & Trends; Examines Best Practices, Workforce Development and Credentials
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. has published its Annual Updates & Trends Report which presents “information and perspective on the year'''''''''''s extraordinary growth in renewable energy and energy efficiency across the U.S., and the research, publications, expert insight and recommendations that are helping shape our clean energy future.”
"The report offers an expansive collection of updated models, new best practices, and higher-ground training standards, and provides independent insight on the latest issues that face stakeholders as we respond to the tremendous growth throughout the renewable energy and energy efficiency marketplace,” says IREC President and CEO Jane Weissman.
Highlights of the report include:
- Costs and benefits of net energy metering and standard valuation methods.
- Results of regulatory and outreach work in clean energy progressive and transitioning states.
- How best practices are growing smart shared renewable programs, interconnection policies, workforce development and even training of local government permitting officials.
- New proactive planning strategies to accommodate high penetrations of distributed renewable energy generation.
- How credentialing renewable energy and energy efficiency instructors and training programs is ensuring a future workforce with industry-driven clean energy skills.
IREC's Annual Updates & Trends Report was released at the recent Solar Power International event in Chicago.
The Department of Energy has also announced this week that IREC will work as national administrator with the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) and DOE to build a training and education framework that grows the expertise and preparedness of current and future electric utility sector professionals - specifically to accommodate high penetrations of solar and other distributed technologies. More …
New Guide for Achieving Energy Independence Designed for Small Communities
The workforce community may view and download the how-to manual and its appendix of documents for use by small communities to develop and deliver programs that reduce energy use community-wide and assist communities to vision renewable energy opportunities. The Energizing Small Communities: A Guide to Achieving Energy Independence and Economic Resiliency [1.6MB PDF] describes the process.
The Guide’s Appendix is a compendium of documents referenced in the Guide that were developed by SEDA-Council of Governments to deliver a community-wide energy independence initiative for the small community of New Berlin, Union County, PA from 2009-2012 as a pilot project supported by the federal Appalachian Regional Commission. This entire Appendix [25MB PDF] can be viewed or downloaded as a .pdf.
Click here for more information about the project under the auspices of the Appalachian Regional Commission.
International Trade Administration Announces Major Organizational Change, Consolidation Designed to Better Support American Business; Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee to Meet on November 19
The International Trade Administration (ITA) for the first time in 30 years has fully implemented its first major organizational change. The change will better align key functions to support U.S. businesses and their workers more efficiently and effectively. The change reflects ITA’s adaptation to the evolution of global markets, technology, and competition. ITA’s reorganization consolidates its four business divisions into three more efficient and functionally aligned units. The new units are Global Markets, Industry and Analysis, and Enforcement and Compliance.
The ITA has recently announced the schedule and agenda of a November 19 meeting in Washington D.C. of the Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee. The ETTAC was created to advise the U.S. government on environmental trade policies and programs, and to help it to focus its resources on increasing the exports of the U.S. environmental industry. The agenda for this meeting will include discussions about proposed recommendations to the Secretary of Commerce. The status of the U.S. Environmental Export Initiative will also be discussed. The meeting is open to the public.
Sector Strategies: Training Technicians to Support the Bioeconomy -- Defining the Need, Designing and Implementing Innovative Solutions
To maintain strong growth of the bioeconomy, a pool of skilled workers is needed to fill biomanufacturing jobs in the areas of bioenergy and biobased products. The Industrial Biotechnology (IB) notes: “A proven strategy for building a high-quality regional workforce is for colleges and industry to work together to develop innovation solutions that combine education and hands-on training.”
This October issue of IB seeks “to underscore the importance of hands-on education and training in developing the next generation of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and policy makers that will help drive the development of the global bioeconomy. Partnerships like those featured in this issue are essential to developing innovative educational and training programs to encourage young people to engage the bioeconomy and to support life-long learning for all those who desire to be part of the bioeconomy,"
Department of Commerce Seeks Comment on “Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity and Innovation in the Digital Economy” – What Policy Issues are Critical to Economic Growth and Job Creation?
Consistent with the Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force (Task Force) Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper) released on July 31, 2013, the Task Force seeks public comment from all interested stakeholders on the following copyright policy issues critical to economic growth, job creation, and cultural development: The legal framework for the creation of remixes; the relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital environment; the appropriate calibration of statutory damages in the contexts of individual file sharers and of secondary liability for large-scale infringement; whether and how the government can facilitate the further development of a robust online licensing environment; and establishing a multi stakeholder dialogue on improving the operation of the notice and takedown system for removing infringing content from the Internet under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The Task Force will also hold an initial public meeting on October 30, 2013, to discuss these topics.
Comments are due on or before November 13, 2013.
Skills for America’s Future Releases “Skilled Trades Playbook”; Volume Addresses How Business and Community Colleges Can Work Together to Help Workers
Skills for America’s Future (SAF) released an interactive Skilled Trades Playbook on October 15.
Created in partnership with Grainger, the Playbook connects businesses and community colleges in an effort to boost local workforce development. The Playbook serves as a one-stop, how-to guide with checklists and other tools to help businesses and community colleges work together to find, train, and place workers in the skilled trades. The Skilled Trades Playbook incorporates numerous examples of effective employer engagement strategies learned from the SAF’s first two years of operation.
Many businesses that rely on skilled workers, such as machinists, welders, and electricians, report difficulty finding qualified individuals to fill open jobs. Partnerships that help align the skill needs of businesses with the training offered by community colleges are a solution to build a stronger workforce, but many don’t know where to start. Solving this dilemma was the catalyst for developing the Playbook.
The Playbook concept was born out of the Partnerships in Practice event sponsored by Grainger at the Aspen Institute in February 2013 where business leaders, community college presidents, and academic experts discussed the reality and scope of the skills gap, the challenges they face, and how businesses and schools can work together to prepare the workforce. The ideas from this event, combined with examples of local partnerships that are preparing skilled trades workers, served as the foundation of the Playbook.
Visit http://www.skilledtradesplaybook.org/ to download the full Skilled Trades Playbook and learn more about the skills gap challenge in the skilled trades professions.
Manufacturing Council to Meet on November 13; Scheduled to Hear from Subcommittee on “Workforce Development and Public Perception of Manufacturing”
The Manufacturing Council will hold a public meeting on November 13 in Houston, Texas, to discuss the work the Council will focus on for the remainder of its term. At the meeting, the Council will hear updates from its four subcommittees on --
- workforce development and public perception of manufacturing;
- manufacturing energy policy;
- tax policy and export growth; and
- innovation, research and development.
The Council will discuss current workforce development efforts by the federal government, the importance of alternative energy technologies for manufacturers, the effects of current tax policies on manufacturers, and the importance of continued research and development for the manufacturing industry. A final agenda will be available on the Council's Web site one week prior to the meeting. The Council was re-chartered on April 5, 2012, to advise the Secretary of Commerce on government programs and policies that affect U.S. manufacturing and provide a means of ensuring regular contact between the U.S. Government and the manufacturing sector.
HHS/ACF Announces New Round of Community Economic Development Grants
Community Economic Development (CED) is a federal grant program which Community Development Corporations that address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families through the creation of sustainable business development and employment opportunities.
CED's projects create employment opportunities that lead to increased self-sufficiency for low-income individuals through a variety of activities, including capital expenditures such as the purchase of equipment or real property, allowable operating expenses, and loans or equity investments. CED funds a variety of projects including business incubators, shopping centers, manufacturing businesses, and agricultural initiatives.
CED awards funds are provided to private, non-profit organizations that are community development corporations (CDCs) including faith-based organizations, and Tribal and Alaskan Native organizations.
On October 17, HHS announced a new round of grants. The winning organizations and grant amounts can be found here.
Federal Joint Initiative Awards Grants to States to Operate Model Demonstration Projects to Improve Education and Employment Outcomes of Child SSI Recipients and Their Families
The U.S. Department of Education in late September announced the award of more than $211 million in five-year grants to five states and a consortium of six states to establish and operate model demonstration projects designed to improve the education and employment outcomes of child Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients and their families.
Consortium of States—
Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado and Arizona
The PROMISE initiative is intended to improve the provision and coordination of services for child SSI recipients and their families. The services help child recipients achieve better outcomes, including graduating from high school ready for college and a career, completing postsecondary education and job training, and obtaining competitive employment in an integrated setting. As a result, these child SSI recipients can achieve long-term reductions in reliance on SSI.
PROMISE is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Labor.