Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Representatives Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer announced today that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding two Oregon workforce development and training centers a combined total of $2.5 million. The funding will be used to expand the solar energy workforce in underserved and underrepresented communities, as well as create career pathways with thousands of good-paying jobs.

“This news is a win-win for Oregon as we work to expand the solar energy workforce and help Oregonians find good paying union jobs, while helping us combat climate chaos,” said Senator Merkley. “This funding will provide important support to keeping Oregon’s economy strong and helping our solar power industry grow.”

“Solar power plays an essential role in fighting the climate crisis and generating careers that pay well in Oregon and nationwide,” Wyden said. “Today’s investments in job training for Oregonians will lead to a better environment and economy for generations to come in our state, and I’ll keep battling for similar workforce investments in the growing green energy sector.”

 “Last Congress we passed robust investments in renewable energy that will jumpstart our clean energy future. And importantly, we also passed some of the largest investments in America’s workers,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “As a longtime supporter of apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and workforce development programs, I am thrilled to see that this funding will help more Oregonians—particularly those from underserved communities—enter good-paying, union jobs in the solar energy industry.”

“The clean energy revolution is happening now. Converting a large sector of our economy to renewable power such as solar requires a highly trained workforce. These job training programs will provide new opportunities to career seekers and make a real difference as we adapt to a low-carbon future,” said Congressman Earl Blumenauer

 This funding is part of the Advancing Equity Through Workforce Partnerships Funding Program within DOE, which is helping to grow the solar energy workforce through rapid deployment of solar energy technologies while supporting an inclusive workforce with opportunities for union membership, and includes funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Information on awards coming to Oregon can be found below:

  • Crater Lake Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Center: $1.5 million to develop a new union-based electrician pre-apprenticeship course for high school students in underserved rural and tribal communities in Southern Oregon, in partnership with the National Electrical Contractors Association/International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (NECA/IBEW).
  • Worksystems: $1 million to create training and placement resources for diverse jobseekers to enter quality jobs in solar installation and related occupations, including union electrical careers across the Portland metro region, in partnership with NECA/IBEW.