Chicago Construction News staff writer
Hundreds of highly-trained workers from underrepresented populations in Chicago and four other U.S. cities will access clean energy job opportunities through a new Urban Apprenticeship Readiness Program – a joint initiative of the National Urban League and the Center for Energy Workforce Development.
The partnership targets key industry occupations in the solar, wind, nuclear, electric, natural gas, and other clean energy sectors, including line workers, gas technicians, plant operators, engineers (cybersecurity, mechanical, electrical, civil, and others), and general technicians.
The program will operate in five Urban League affiliates: Urban League of Louisiana, Chicago Urban League, Houston Area Urban League, Louisville Urban League, and Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.
Affiliates are responsible for recruitment, intake assessments, eligibility screening services, enrollment, career readiness training, soft skills training, support services, partnership and liaison with pre-apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeship Program partners, and referral to Registered Apprenticeship Program opportunities.
“The intersecting demands for climate and racial justice have created a unique opportunity for diversity and inclusion in the fast-growing clean energy industry,” said Marc H. Morial, National Urban League President. “The urgency is particularly pronounced in urban communities, which not only have been historically underrepresented in this type of economic opportunity, but also disproportionally suffer the impacts of climate change.”
The collaboration funnels the National Urban League’s diverse pool of workforce development participants from preparatory training and pre-apprenticeship programs to opportunities in Registered Apprenticeship Programs with energy companies across CEWD’s partnership network.
“We recognize the need to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace so that our companies can better represent the communities and customers they serve,” CEWD executive director Missy Henriksen said in as statement. “By ensuring a skilled, diverse energy talent pipeline, we can build a stronger, more innovative industry that is able to respond to fast-changing issues and demands.”
A Registered Apprenticeship Program is a proven model of apprenticeship that has been validated by the U.S. Department of Labor or a State Apprenticeship Agency.
The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities.