The Sustainability Hub participants complete harness training to install solar panels at heights

Classes Begin At New Clean Energy Job Training Center In Chicago

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The Sustainability Hub, a new job training facility in Chicago created in partnership between Power52’s Ecademy and 548 Enterprise (548), is happy to announce the enrollment of its first 20 trainees in its clean energy job training program.

The Sustainability Hub is offering comprehensive job training and employment possibilities to local Illinois job seekers eager to begin a career in the clean energy sector with support from Summit Ridge Energy (SRE). The program will teach 10,000+ residents over the next ten years with a focus on veterans, returning citizens, and residents from underserved communities who have completed high school.

The Sustainability Hub, which is situated in Chicago’s West Side, will equip trainees with the knowledge and abilities necessary for successful careers in Illinois’ expanding solar industry. The program’s graduates will be certified solar technicians with knowledge of how to plan, build, operate, and maintain solar energy projects. Along with basic construction skills like utilizing power tools, soldering, and pipe bending, the program also covers life skills like dispute resolution and financial literacy.

Graduates of the program will be able to take part in on-the-job training at solar projects spread all across Illinois, including more than 100 rooftop projects constructed and owned by SRE in Chicago’s inner city and projects developed by 548.

Community outreach has been conducted by Chicago-based nonprofits in order to connect local residents to the training program.

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“The Sustainability Hub supports our mission of empowering Black communities across Chicago and the wider United States, and we’re already seeing its positive impact in our communities. The training is sharing important knowledge, resources and skills that are helping people prepare for careers in a rapidly growing industry,” said Rev. John Harrell, Black Men United.

“The individuals who have joined the training program are excited to learn skills that will empower them to work in the solar industry. Chicago Jesuit Academy was excited to refer several young men from the West Side of Chicago to the Sustainability Hub to help chart their path toward meaningful employment,” said Meg Mortensen, Chicago Jesuit Academy.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which was passed, has encouraged investment and new partnerships in the clean energy sector, notably the Sustainability Hub. However, many urban areas, including Chicago, are unable to build solar energy projects as a result of the Treasury Department’s most recent guidance on qualified Energy Communities. This may limit the Sustainability Hub’s ability to place its trainees on nearby solar projects.

Additional clarity regarding the Energy Communities Tax Credit Bonus and other IRA provisions is being awaited by businesses and job seekers in order to support urban solar development and the associated job creation.

Here is a little more information on the Energy Communities Tax Credit Bonus. On April 4, 2023, the IRS published Notice 2023-29 (the Notice) clarifying the requirements for claiming energy community bonus tax credits for renewable energy projects. The bonus credits were part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the Act) and were designed to incentivize developers to locate new projects in communities with historical or current connections to the fossil fuel industry, referred to as energy communities (Energy Communities). The Act left open many of the details necessary to define the precise scope and definition of an Energy Community, which made it difficult for renewable energy developers and tax equity investors to rely on the availability of bonus tax credits.

“This program is delivering clean energy training to prepare our graduates for careers in the green economy. These first twenty participants — of the 10,000 people that will walk through our doors over the next ten years — will design, construct and maintain the systems that provide clean, renewable and stable power to their neighbors. The underserved and marginalized communities that we serve will be the catalysts for the United States reaching its clean energy goals by 2050,” said Rob Wallace, President & CEO of Ecademy, and Co-Founder of Power52.

A skilled workforce will be essential to transitioning to solar in the coming years. Programs like this is the key to keeping up with the demand for solar installations. It would be great if clean energy training schools like this would be created in every state. The graduates from this program walk away as certified solar technicians and have opportunity for additional on-the-job training. This will offer good paying jobs to the trainees and a chance to help do something meaningful for their communities.

Source: PR Newswire

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