Author: US DOE Staff      Published: 7/29/2022       SETO

Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Solar Energy Technologies Office 

Photo with two people working on a solar panel with the text "Advancing Equity Through Workforce Partnerships"

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced the Advancing Equity Through Workforce Partnerships funding opportunity, which will award $10 million for the development of collaborative workforce programs that will facilitate the rapid deployment of solar energy technologies while supporting an inclusive workforce with opportunities for union membership. This opportunity is funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will enable more members of disadvantaged communities and energy justice populations to pursue careers in the solar energy industry.

While the solar industry is already more diverse than national averages, DOE is working to ensure that the solar workforce of the future is equitable, inclusive, and benefits all Americans, particularly disadvantaged communities. DOE expects that the industry will need to grow from 300,000 workers today to between 500,000 and 1,500,000 workers by 2035 to achieve decarbonization goals. These jobs should be accessible to workers from all backgrounds, provide competitive wages and benefits, and offer opportunities for union membership.

Projects selected for this funding program will be demand-driven and worker-centric, leverage existing infrastructure and resources, be sustainable and replicable, and prioritize energy justice issues.

Areas of interest include:

  • Apprenticeship readiness (pre-apprenticeship) or apprenticeship partnerships
  • Community-led training partnerships
  • Clean energy sector partnerships

This funding program supports the government-wide approach to addressing the climate crisis and maximize the benefits of the clean energy transition by empowering workers and advancing environmental justice.

SETO expects to make about 8 to 16 awards under the Advancing Equity Through Workforce Partnerships funding program, each ranging between $250,000 and $1.5 million. SETO seeks applications from diverse teams of training providers, labor unions, non-profit community-based organizations, solar developers, educational institutions (including minority-serving institutions and historically black colleges and universities), tribal entities, and local governments.

Prior to submitting a full application for this opportunity, a brief, mandatory letter of intent is due on September 13, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

SETO will host an informational webinar on August 4, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. ET to discuss the funding program and the areas of focus. Register for the webinar.

Learn more about SETO’s workforce development programs and open funding opportunities within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.