Manager for Special Research Projects and Programs University of Illinois Champaign, Illinois
The energy efficiency workforce in Illinois and throughout the U.S. is struggling to meet the demand for energy efficiency products and services. This is particularly evident in the home weatherization industry, where jobs go unfilled and waiting lists are long. In addition, the weatherization industry is largely older, white, and male. Without a more diverse workforce, weatherization programs will struggle to engage the populations they serve. This session will explore the need to grow and diversify the energy efficiency workforce, with a focus on the weatherization industry. We will present findings from a needs assessment we conducted on behalf of the Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency Program in which we interviewed 37 energy efficiency employers, training providers, community action agencies, and workforce coordinators to explore barriers and solutions to growth and diversification. Based on our findings, we developed a pilot project to grow the energy efficiency workforce in the Peoria, IL region. We will share findings from our needs assessment and results from our efforts to connect people to jobs and training. Workshop participants will join the discussion to share their own experiences and ideas for growing and diversifying the weatherization workforce.
By attending this session, attendees will:
Understand the major barriers to growing and diversifying the weatherization workforce
Explore strategies to overcome these barriers that can be applied to their own programs
Understand how to improve connections among stakeholders to grow the weatherization workforce