Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Provides $18 Million to Over a Dozen Higher Education Institutions, Including Seven Minority Serving Institutions, and $54 Million to Train the Next Generation of Clean Energy and Manufacturing Workers
WASHINGTON, D.C. — As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced five competitively selected higher education institutions to serve as Centers of Excellence for DOE’s Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) Program and will receive a combined $18.7 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Also, DOE today announced a $54 million funding opportunity from the Law to expand the IAC Program to community colleges, trade schools, and union training programs, and create new Building Training and Assessment Centers (BTACs) at higher education institutions. Both announcements advance the Department’s mission to streamline the career pipeline for students looking to join the clean energy economy, part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s actions to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050 while supporting workers and communities.
“Strengthening and diversifying the pipeline for high-quality manufacturing and building efficiency jobs is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to create an economy that will allow our nation to reach its clean energy future,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This is a direct investment in the next generation of American workers that will help ensure America’s global leadership in advanced manufacturing and green building technologies.”
President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.
IAC Regional Centers of Excellence Selectees
Over more than four decades, the IAC Program has provided more than 20,000 assessments at small- and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs), which comprise more than 90% of the nation’s manufacturing base. IACs typically identify more than $130,000 in potential annual savings opportunities for every manufacturer assessed. Today, DOE-supported IACs exist at 37 universities in 28 states across the country, with 17 of those institutions having participated in a pilot to provide similar assessments to small and medium-sized commercial buildings.
The new Regional Centers of Excellence will enhance and expand the IAC Program by serving as regional hubs for the program that collaborate and coordinate with government, nonprofit, labor, and industry actors to train clean energy workers and support small- and medium-sized manufacturers in each respective regions. Two of the five selectees, and seven of the partnering institutions, are Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI).
Each of the selectees will bring unique capabilities in strengthening the IAC network:
- Great Plains Center of Excellence at Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK), in partnership with Northern Oklahoma College, Wichita State University, and the University of Nebraska, will advance the IAC network’s use of technology-driven assessments – including through use of mobile applications, drones, and virtual/augmented reality. This center will also deepen the IAC network’s partnerships with community colleges and Tribal communities.
- Southeastern Center of Excellence at Georgia Tech University (Atlanta, GA), in partnership with Clark Atlanta University, Florida A&M University, and Kennesaw State University, will draw on these universities’ internationally renowned expertise in energy management, industrial electrification, and complex assessments.
- Mid-Atlantic Center of Excellence at Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA), in partnership with West Virginia University, will expand the IAC network’s engagement with unions, trade schools, and community colleges, and develop new assessment methodologies to better serve small manufacturers.
- Gulf Coast Center of Excellence at Texas A&M University (College Station, TX), a national leader in remote and hybrid assessments, will accelerate the IAC network’s growing emphasis on industrial decarbonization, electrification, and resiliency planning.
- Western Center of Excellence at San Francisco State University (San Francisco, CA), in partnership with San Jose State University, San Diego State University, Laney College, and Cuyamaca College – a group of five leading minority-serving institutions –will apply their expertise in data-driven tracking to evaluate and improve manufacturer performance, renewable energy, energy demand management, thermal systems design, and waste and water management to enhance manufacturing competitiveness across the Western U.S.
Learn more about each selection here.
Funding Opportunity Announcement: $54 Million to Expand IACs and Create BTACs
The new IACs and BTACs that will be created with this funding will build upon the demonstrated success of applied learning environments and hands-on training approaches of existing IACs. The IACs also will draw on the unique strengths, geographic reach, and faculty/student composition of trade schools, community colleges, union training programs, and other institutions of higher education. The new IACs will focus on high-quality skilled trades job pathways in fields, such as industrial electrician, energy management, renewable energy, and advanced manufacturing, while providing hands-on support to small and medium manufactures. The new BTACs will expand these benefits to commercial and institutional buildings to help lower utility costs and allow companies to reinvest in businesses, employees, and community services. The BTACs will train engineers, architects, building scientists, building energy permitting and enforcement officials, and building technicians in energy-efficient building design and operation. The IAC and BTAC programs will provide services in historically underserved communities and support DOE’s work toward honoring the President’s Justice40 Initiative.
An informational webinar on the funding opportunity will be held on April 18, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. ET. Concept papers are required and are due on May 25, 2023 at 5 p.m. ET, with full applications due on July 31, 2023 at 5 p.m. ET.
DOE’s Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains (MESC) manages the IAC Program, and the Office of State and Community Energy Programs (SCEP) manages the BTAC Program. Learn more about both programs by visiting the MESC and SCEP websites.