The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, invests in a broad network of home energy professionals that ensure weatherization jobs cannot be exported.. The State of Utah’s Intermountain Weatherization Training Center (IWTC), for example, is one of many weatherization training centers across the country that contributes to development of a highly skilled and trained workforce in the energy efficiency field, a priority of the Department.
The IWTC is a 22,000 square foot warehouse space with classrooms, an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) lab, and other props to train weatherization staff. Between 2015 and 2018, Utah’s WAP trained more than 600 weatherization professionals. The primary function of the IWTC is to train Utah WAP personnel to better understand how to install energy-efficient retrofits in Utah’s low-income households. In-field training proved to be difficult in the harsh Utah weather, which could thwart training efforts for program staff. In 2009, the previous manager of Utah’s WAP made an investment in the future of the WAP program and its training abilities by commissioning the construction of the IWTC. WAP continues to produce some of the best technically trained weatherization staff in the country.
One of the reasons the training programs provided at the IWTC are successful is the small class sizes—certification classes never exceed six people. A better student-to-instructor ratio allows the trainer to focus on the students. The Utah WAP also utilizes an online learning management system that covers weatherization basics and is a prerequisite to classroom training, effectively preparing the trainees to participate in the training.
In early 2019, WAP invited Corbett Lunsford, a nationally-recognized home performance expert and creator of the PBS show Home Diagnosis, to speak at their annual training event held at the IWTC. The IWTC sparked Lunsford’s interest, and he He requested to come back and film an episode of his show at the training center. Lunsford and the PBS film crew headed out to the IWTC to showcase a one-of-a-kind training facility that provides Utah’s low-income residents with better trained weatherization personnel to retrofit their homes.