Energy Trust invests in workforce development, partnerships in 2024

Energy Trust invests in workforce development, partnerships in 2024

Starting this year, several new clean energy offers are expected to hit the market, funded largely by the Inflation Reduction Act. To ensure these offers – including new rebate programs and support for solar – result in meaningful benefits for Oregonians, Energy Trust is acting now to help prepare the market for more projects to materialize in the coming years.

Energy Trust’s 2024 budget and 2024-2025 action plan include increased investments in crucial infrastructure to help customers save energy in the coming years and see more equitable benefits. Here are three areas Energy Trust is investing in this year.

Expanding the Trade Ally Network

Energy Trust’s Trade Ally Network is the backbone of the state’s clean energy contractor infrastructure, providing a robust network of trusted local businesses for customers to turn to when they want to do energy projects.

As demand for skilled labor grows, Energy Trust needs to bring an estimated 300 to 600 new contractors into the network to meet that demand. It also needs to diversify the network to include more contractors who represent traditionally underserved communities.

Over the next two years, Energy Trust plans to invest over $5 million dollars to help attract and train more trade allies and support them in completing more energy projects in their communities.

In 2024, Energy Trust is expanding its Contractor Development Pathway, which offers resources, training and support for new and prospective trade ally business owned by women and people of color and those located in rural communities. This offer will be available for more types of contractors and will have more slots available for more participants.

Developing the next generation of clean energy workers

To help build a pipeline of qualified clean energy professionals, Energy Trust will continue to support workforce development through investments and partnerships with trade organizations.

In 2024, Energy Trust plans to partner with the nonprofit National Association of Minority Contractors-Oregon to secure and operate a job training facility for Portland area contractors. Energy Trust is exploring additional training centers in other communities.

Energy Trust also plans to collaborate with a youth-focused community-based organization to offer trainings to Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) designed to get young people interested in clean energy jobs and create pathways to well-paying careers in the trades.

Deepening partnerships with community-based organizations

To tap into energy savings for previously underserved customers, Energy Trust is working to expand its network of delivery partners who work directly with these communities. Community-based organizations can act as clean energy ambassadors and deliver targeted offers.

In 2024 and 2025, Energy Trust will look to expand its Community Partner Funding network of community-based organizations that deliver higher incentives for energy-efficient upgrades.  That includes streamlining the participation process and removing other barriers to make it easier for these organizations to focus on what they do best.

Building trust and relationships are long-term strategies to achieve energy goals that take years to pay off. Investing in delivery networks and partners now will help ensure solutions are there when customers need them, both now and years from now.