Clean Energy Spotlight

Building Inclusive Apprenticeships in the Clean Energy Sector

Woman working on a solar energy farm

PIA Clean Energy Ecosystem

PIA Clean Energy EcosystemPIA is partnering with government; the clean energy workforce; advocacy, consumer, and community organizations; professional associations; and educators, research, and thought leaders to help make the clean energy talent pipeline more inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities. View the PIA Clean Energy Ecosystem infographic.

Building Workforce Talent for the Clean Energy Sector through Apprenticeship

Richard LawrenceMegan HowesRichard Lawrence and Megan Howes of IREC (the Interstate Renewable Energy Council) discuss how the development of inclusive apprenticeship programs will enable the rapidly growing clean energy sector to meet its demand for skilled talent.

Listen to the podcast and read the transcript

leaf and power outletInclusion in the Clean Energy Sector

  • Clean energy is energy generated from renewable resources or energy saved by more efficient energy-producing systems. Most renewable energy sources are from solar, wind, water, or geothermal.
  • In 2020 there were more than 3 million jobs in the clean energy sector, including positions in industries such as solar, electric vehicle manufacturing, and energy efficiency. Yet, employers struggle to find skilled candidates for these positions.
  • Inclusive apprenticeship programs can build a pipeline of diverse, untapped talent to fill a broad range of jobs in this growing sector. Read Diversifying the Solar Workforce through Inclusive Apprenticeships.
  • Apprentices with disabilities can enter into a career as a Commercial Building Code Inspector, a Solar Marketing Specialist, an Energy Systems Engineer, and more. Read Inclusive Apprenticeships: Increasing Access to Clean Energy Careers for People with Disabilities.

clean energy icons and dollar symbolFunding Inclusive Clean Energy Apprenticeships

  • Creating apprenticeship programs can be a low-cost way to build a pipeline of skilled workers. (Learn more about the key benefits that inclusive apprenticeships offer employers and people with disabilities.)
  • Many states offer funding that can aid in the development of inclusive programs, providing financial support for clean energy workforce development, apprenticeship training, and/or job creation for people with disabilities.
  • There are a variety of funding opportunities to assist in creating more inclusive training for jobs in the clean energy sector. Some examples of state funding include:


Read these additional resources for more information on apprenticeships and inclusive apprenticeships, opportunities in the clean energy sector, and more.

Hiring and Retaining Apprentices with Disabilities provides information and resources on the basics of apprentices, hiring and retaining apprentices with disabilities, and the apprenticeship Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) regulations that support inclusive workplaces. Resources are also available on potential career paths to pursue through apprenticeship and case studies targeted toward employers on the benefits of apprenticeships.

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Clean Jobs America 2020: Repowering America’s Economy in the Wake of COVID-19

The E2 summary and breakdown of Clean Jobs data from the United States Energy Employment Report (USEER) for 2020. This report details the sheer size of this important employment sector, the troubles it is currently facing due to COVID-19, and how focusing recovery policies on clean energy can get America’s economy humming again—quickly and for the long run.

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The Solar Career Map

Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)’s Solar Career Map displays the variety of jobs and skills needed within the solar workforce.

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Advancing Inclusion Through Clean Energy Jobs

With the push for “green jobs,” this analysis by the Brookings Institute is designed to help energy-sector professionals, state and local policymakers, regional education and training sector leaders, and community organizations get a clearer look at the nature, needs, and opportunities associated with the future clean energy workforce. This analysis explores the extent to which such occupations will offer inclusive pathways to economic opportunity.

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