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The IRA's Blueprint for Clean Energy Job Creation

  • Written by Briauna Bergland
  • December 13, 2023
Female Quality Engineer and Male Production Engineer talking in a warehouse factory.

The energy and utilities industries are on the verge of a workforce transformation, thanks in no small part to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

This historic piece of legislation seeks to bolster clean energy sectors by prioritizing substantial investments in workforce development and paving the way for skilled personnel to drive the accelerated expansion of renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency programs, and grid modernization efforts. 

The Need for a Skilled Energy Workforce 

The demand for skilled workers in the energy and utilities sectors is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in these industries is projected to increase by 8% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. The American Council on Renewable Energy also estimates that the energy sector will see the creation of 2.4 million jobs in the same time frame, with the greatest growth coming out of renewable energy. 

The Inflation Reduction Act's Workforce Development Provisions

The IRA recognizes the importance of workforce development in achieving its clean energy goals. The act includes several provisions that will help to train and equip workers for careers in clean energy. These provisions include:

  • The State-Based Home Energy Efficiency Contractor Training Grants (CTG) program: This innovative program at the forefront of the IRA's green jobs boom empowers states to develop training initiatives that tackle two crucial challenges: reducing the cost of training for contractors and their employees, and ensuring a diverse and qualified workforce ready to deliver the clean energy improvements of tomorrow. By partnering with non-profit organizations, states can tailor programs to attract and train individuals from all walks of life, ensuring everyone has a seat at the clean energy table.
  • Tax credits for apprenticeship programs: The IRA provides tax credits to employers who create and maintain apprenticeship programs in clean energy industries. These programs will help to provide workers with the hands-on training they need to be successful. These credits also include a prevailing wage requirement. Together, the apprenticeship and prevailing wage tax incentives are designed to not only enlarge the workforce but also make it more diverse and equitable.
  • Investments in community colleges and vocational training: The IRA provides funding for community colleges and vocational training programs to develop and deliver clean energy training programs. These programs will help to ensure that workers have the skills they need to secure jobs in the growing clean energy economy.
  • Support for underserved communities: The IRA includes provisions to ensure that workforce development programs are accessible to underserved communities, including women, minorities, and veterans.

The IRA is expected to create millions of new jobs in a variety of fields, including construction, manufacturing, installation, and maintenance, over the next decade. It will also create new opportunities in related industries like transportation and logistics, with the biggest job gains expected in the electric vehicles, battery storage, and solar energy sectors.

The Impact of the IRA on Workforce Development 

The IRA's investments in apprenticeship programs, community colleges, and vocational training will support the clean energy transition with a pipeline of skilled workers who are ready to meet the challenges of the future. Additionally, the IRA's provisions are expected to help create more equitable access to jobs in the energy industry, ensuring that everyone can participate in the growing energy transition economy. 

The energy revolution is here, and it's creating a tidal wave of exciting careers. At RI, we're building a team of passionate individuals who are reimagining the energy landscape. We nurture development, encourage innovation, and empower our people to make a real difference. Check out our Careers page to explore our current openings and embark on an extraordinary journey where your talent meets purpose.