$100 million for smart grid workforce training and development in U.S.


U.S. Energy
Steven Chu
Rockville, MD, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — April 9, 2010 – The United States Department of Energy has announced award selections totalling almost $100 million for 54 smart grid workforce training programs that will help prepare the next generation of workers in the utility and electrical manufacturing industries.

These projects will leverage more than $95 million in funding from community colleges, universities, utilities and manufacturers to develop and implement training programs, for a total project value of more than $194 million. The programs are expected to train approximately 30,000 personnel, who will help to modernize the nation’s electrical grid and implement smart grid technologies across the country.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu made the announcement while visiting a Pepco engineering and service center in Rockville, Maryland that is receiving $4.4 million in funding that the company estimates will train 700 new and existing employees.

“Building and operating smart grid infrastructure will put tens of thousands of Americans to work,” said Secretary Chu. “Today’s investment will help ensure that we have the workforce in place to meet this need. This is a great opportunity for workers to upgrade their skills and earn more, or for laid off workers from other industries to start fresh in a new and growing field.”

The awards will support two types of workforce training initiatives. In the “Developing and enhancing workforce training programs for the electric power sector” topic, 33 projects will receive $41.6 million for the development of new training programs, strategies and curricula related to the electric power sector and the smart grid. These new programs include projects at universities, community colleges and technical schools that will help serve as models for training or retraining workers across the country. The awards also include support for the Strategic Training and Education in Power Systems (STEPS) initiative, which will develop cross-disciplinary electric power system programs at the university and college level.

In the “Smart grid workforce training” topic, 21 projects will receive $57.7 million to conduct workforce training programs for new hires – including displaced workers and military veterans – and retraining programs for electric utility workers and electrical equipment manufacturers to further enhance their knowledge of smart grid technologies and their implementation. These projects will help ensure utilities and manufacturers have the necessary trained workforce to support the ongoing smart grid deployment projects, including Smart Grid Investment Grants and demonstration projects funded under the Recovery Act.

The awards range in size from just over $87,000 up to $5 million.

To view the full list of selected projects click here