Clean energy apprenticeship program to train and employ New Jersey residents
New Jersey investor-owned utility Public Service Enterprise Group partnered with non-profit Real World Academy (RWA) to train teenagers and adults for new jobs in the clean energy sector. Over the course of the initiative, about 3,200 direct jobs will be created, of which 2,000 will be produced directly through PSEG’s newly launched Clean Energy Jobs Program.
Based in Morristown, N.J., RWA is a social enterprise and nonprofit educational consulting group which began to train residents in underserved communities of the tri-state New York and New Jersey following the Covid-19 pandemic for hiring opportunities in the clean energy market.
For its part, PSEG also sought to launch a jobs program post-pandemic in order to bolster the clean energy sector. The New Jersey utility’s Clean Energy (CE) Jobs Program was developed to meet the growing renewables sector by expanding opportunities for energy efficiency workforce diversity.
By launching its CE Programs in the New Jersey, PSEG’s concept was to partner with local nonprofits that provide professional development services and wrap-around support for any individual, unemployed or underemployed person.
RWA has worked with clients ranging from 13 to 55 years old. About 34% of clients served have a household income of $20K to $40K, and another 34% have a household income of less than $20K.
Through its partnership with the NJ-STEP (New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons) Program, formerly incarcerated individuals (ex-offenders) have also been included in the clean energy program.
RWA’s partnership with Newark Workforce Development Board under its Newark Green Infrastructure Project allows the non-profit agency it to serve unemployed and dislocated workers.
“What RWA has known since its inception is that regardless of the demographic, all individuals need support in self-actualizing and understanding how to navigate the world around them in order to achieve whatever they define as success. RWA’s purpose is to provide this support,” said Lincoln Farquharson, chief executive officer of RWA and executive director of the PSEG partnership.
PSEG and RWA will be launching a new cohort in February 2023 which includes free virtual classes for any NJ resident over 18 years of age on professional communication, finances, business etiquette, cover letter & resume writing, interviewing, and additional professional tips.
Those seeking support must register with RWA prior to February 1 to be eligible for the 2023 program.
Just last week, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) launched the Competitive Solar Incentive (CSI) program, a new program designed to encourage grid scale solar generation in the Garden State.
The new CSI program has a goal of incentivizing at least 300 MW of solar annually until 2026. The program will be open to qualifying grid supply solar installations and non-residential net metered solar installations with a capacity greater than 5 MW, as well as to eligible grid supply solar installations in combination with energy storage.
New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy has committed to 100% clean energy by 2050 and at least 50% Class I Renewable Energy Credits by 2030.
“Our growing solar program, which not only includes CSI and [Administratively Determined Incentive] ADI, but also Community Solar, is one of the core programs in achieving Governor Murphy’s goal of a 100% clean energy future,” said Joseph L. Fiordaliso, president of NJBPU.
Prior to the utility-scale program’s launch, New Jersey already ranked eighth in the nation for solar development after achieving 4 GW of deployments over the last year, enough clean energy to power 662,947 homes.
As of Q2 22, the Solar Energy Industries Association states 6,237 employees work in the New Jersey solar market, with 70 manufacturers and 203 installers and development companies operating in the state.
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