- The U.S. Department of Energy is planning a $24 million initiative to establish new Industrial Assessment Centers across the United States, the federal agency announced last week.
- The centers aim to train individuals for careers in clean energy, energy efficiency and advanced manufacturing that do not require a four-year degree. They also aim to assist small- and medium-sized manufacturers in saving money, reducing energy waste and improving productivity.
- The DOE intends to officially announce the funding opportunity in late winter to early spring 2024, the press release noted, so information is subject to change.
The additional funding comes while the clean energy sector is booming and builds on the department's recent efforts to expand its training programs.
The clean energy sector added nearly 300,000 jobs between 2021 and 2022, according to a Department of Energy report from June 2023. The DOE's initiative aims to support that growth by funding different workforce training institutions, including community and technical colleges, trade schools, union training programs, apprenticeships and internships.
IACs exist or are being created at over 50 universities, community colleges, trade schools and union training programs in 33 states nationwide.
In November 2023, the DOE expanded its 40-year tradition to include 17 new Industrial Assessment Centers and an inaugural cohort of 10 Building Training and Assessment Centers, which will both receive a combined $40.8 million grant.
Applicants for the upcoming funding opportunity can apply to one of three tracks: one-year initial planning and capacity building awards, three-year execution and scale awards and three-year consortia and cohort awards.
Track 1 recipients can also apply for track 2 or 3 awards in future cycles.
The department also said it encourages potential applicants to explore partnerships with existing and newly selected IACs and IAC Centers of Excellence, as well as community-based organizations and industry groups to provide assistance helping small and mid-sized manufacturers.