GRID Alternatives Receives $300,000 from Bank of America for Solar Workforce Development Program
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GRID Alternatives, the largest nonprofit installer of renewable energy in the U.S., announced a renewed partnership with Bank of America. Bank of America is a long-standing corporate partner that has renewed its investment of $300,000 in one of GRID’s workforce development programs, the SolarCorps Fellowship Program. This funding will support GRID’s 37 SolarCorps Fellows in obtaining hands-on experience, mentorship, professional development, and increased knowledge about a career in renewable energy.
“Demand for solar energy continues to grow and that demand is driving the need for more solar industry workers,” said Alex Liftman, Global Environmental Executive at Bank of America. “We are at a moment in time when we can create access to clean energy and clean energy jobs in underrepresented communities like never before. That’s why we are pleased to support SolarCorps and the broader mission of GRID Alternatives, which are helping to meet that demand and creating healthy communities and economic mobility in the process.”
GRID’s mission is to build community-powered solutions to advance economic and environmental justice through renewable energy across the United States, in sovereign Tribal nations, and internationally. “Bank of America is a champion of our SolarCorps Fellows Program, and their support is critical to helping GRID advance equity by providing valuable experience to individuals from the communities we serve, while helping communities gain access to renewable energy solutions,” said Erica Mackie, GRID CEO and Co-Founder. “Thank you to Bank of America for their support.”
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GRID’s work has taken on new importance in response to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which was signed into law in 2022 and represents the most significant legislation in U.S. history to combat the climate crisis and strengthen energy security. The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory predict strong growth in the solar industry workforce as a result of the IRA. The September 2021 Solar Futures Study indicated“(that) in order to achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of an inclusive, equitable transition to a fully decarbonized electricity system by 2035, the solar workforce will need to grow from approximately 250,000 workers in 2021 to between 500,000 and 1,500,000 workers by 2035.”
GRID is proud to be a part of the solar industry’s job growth by providing workforce development and training programs, resulting in over 33,000 trainees, students, and volunteers gaining valuable experience in solar installations and construction, and outreach and community solar education. Diversifying the solar workforce with highly qualified employees is part of GRID’s mission, and it is critical to the continued growth of the renewable energy sector.
GRID demonstrates its commitment to a just workforce transition by serving those who are typically underrepresented in the energy industry, including women and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)-identifying individuals. GRID also recruits job training participants from economic and environmental justice communities located in its affiliate offices’ regions, including California (Riverside County, LA County, Sacramento, Fresno, Oakland, San Diego); Denver and Kingman Park in Colorado; and Washington, DC. These projects exclusively benefit under-resourced households, defined as an annual household income that is 80% or below the area’s median income.
Since 2014, 422 people have served as SolarCorps Fellows, and the hands-on experience helped 73% of them get their next job following the fellowship. Bank of America has provided $1.85 million in funding and supported 200 Fellows since 2017 and has provided a total of $2.195 million in funding to GRID (including the SolarCorps Fellowship Program) since 2010.