Building Green Futures: A Pilot for Growing and Supporting the EE Workforce

Above: Under the vigilant eye of one of Clean Energy Center’s expert instructors, Greg Weaver, the students get literal hands-on experience with an array of common and high-end tools they will utilize in the field.

According to a 2023 analysis from the PA DEP, Pennsylvania will need a “significant number” of new energy efficiency workers over the next ten years to match growing demand for energy efficiency services. Where will these workers come from? A unique pilot program from the Clean Energy Center at Penn College and CASA shows a path forward.

The Energy Efficiency Alliance is proud to support Building Green Futures, a six-week training program currently underway in York, PA. A cohort of eight trainees are currently attending class at the CASA center in York, where expert instructors from Clean Energy Center are teaching introduction to building science, basic hand and power tools, air sealing techniques, OSHA 10 safety training and credentials, and other retrofit installer skills consistent with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) Home Energy Professional Crew Leader job task analysis. Training is free and includes both a stipend and access to support services like childcare reimbursement.

With a week of training completed, Clean Energy Center program coordinator Alix do Norte sat down with Spanish translator staff from CASA and Building Green Futures trainee Omar to check in on his learning journey.

Here is Omar in his natural element as a chipper, detail-oriented, team-player—he prepares the lab space to simulate job-site cleanliness and preparation prior to beginning Weatherization work.

Okay, our first question is, what made you want to join Building Green Futures?

I was interested in the idea of helping the environment and making homes better. I wanted to learn about the way construction is evolving in the United States, which is very different from my country, Peru.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far?

It’s how to maintain things and how to take care of the issue of the environment. Electricity, air exhaust, weatherization, and all those things, help a lot in construction. I would like that type of construction to come to Peru.

Yes, weatherization can go a long way to making our global communities
more energy-efficient. With the concept of weatherization being new to you, have you encountered challenges in the program so far? Have there been any struggles?

So for challenges, I think there are many in terms of language. And there are challenges in the changes in terms for structural materials. The measurements, in my country, for example, are meters and centimeters; here they use inches and feet and all that, right? It’s those things.

But I believe that if you set your mind to something, you will achieve it. So, for now I’m trying to move forward little by little. I know it’s a good program you’re running.

That’s an admirable outlook. Speaking of an achievement mindset, program graduation will be coming up soon. What do you hope to do after graduation?

I plan to continue with this topic of studies, to get more classes and get more involved. I decided to opt for this job because it seemed interesting to me to study and advance, in terms of the improvements that are here in this country. My plan is to become a contractor and be able to help other people who may have the difficulty that many of us have when arriving in this country.

That’s a great answer and thanks for sharing all this.

Thank you.


This project was made possible through a grant from the Met Ed/Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund.

Bright-eyed and ready to learn, the initial 8 students begin the rigorous curriculum of Building Science Principles.

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