HBI joined a national campaign to raise awareness about career opportunities in the energy-efficiency sectors, with a focus on fostering a talent pipeline that is inclusive of low-income and other underserved populations.
Through a recent three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and its partners will develop an interactive career map that highlights the breadth of rewarding energy-efficiency occupations and their career paths.
Other key partners in the project include the Building Performance Association, the Building Performance Institute, the National Community Action Partnership and the National Institute of Building Sciences.
"HBI has long served a wide range of students — many of them of the low-income and underserved populations that stand to benefit from this new interactive career map," said HBI President and CEO Ed Brady. "Often, the difference between having a robust and diverse talent pipeline or not is a matter of access — to information about what's available, to the vision of what's possible for oneself and to the educational resources to ready oneself for career placement."
In cooperation with industry subject matter experts, the project team will identify critical, market-valued energy-efficiency occupations and career paths. From there, a nationwide outreach campaign with partner and stakeholder organizations will promote careers in energy efficiency, and leverage the map through conferences, websites, newsletters, email and social media networks.
Outreach will include organizations serving low-income and other vulnerable populations of learners and workers, such as women and minorities, to increase diversity in this important sector.
HBI Jobs Corps electrical instructor Kevin Gordon noted that his students will benefit from this new resource. "I think that the IREC career path [map] is really going to assist a lot of those students who are interested in solar on how to actually do those jobs and get that upper hand in getting these positions that are very specialized."
Gordon transitioned into the solar installation field after working as an electrician for several years and said that landing a job in the solar energy field is not as easy as some other trades. He hopes this new resource empowers his students to "find their personal calling in energy systems."