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Arthur Natella

Arthur Natella

Project Associate , Massachusetts Clean Energy Center

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This week we are highlighting the efforts of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) Clean Energy Equipment Grant projects. Organizations looking to implement training, especially in clean energy, are often deterred by high start-up costs associated with curriculum development, instructor training and the purchase of training equipment. The impetus for MassCEC’s Clean Energy Equipment Grants is to help alleviate some of these barriers and allow capable organizations the ability to educate and train students and clients in real-world scenarios that will prepare them for opportunities in the clean energy sector.

Through our Clean Energy Equipment Grant Initiative, MassCEC has provided $550,000 to a wide spectrum of projects at vocational schools, labor organizations, colleges, universities and community-based organizations. Currently, we have nine projects underway in Lowell, Lawrence, Mattapan, Lexington, Leominster, New Bedford, Dorchester, Worcester and Springfield. Each project ranges between $50,000 and $75,000, and uses grant funds to purchase and implement clean energy demonstration and training equipment for practical laboratory and/or training space. This is helping hundreds of students and workers to build on their knowledge in areas of construction, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and engineering.

These projects are not only training people for skills today, but are also building a training infrastructure that will ensure long lasting workforce capacity to support the growing clean energy industry in Massachusetts. Each project has aligned itself with local employers to advise in the development and relevancy of its training programs. Here are a few highlights of some of the training occurring right now:

Lab Training

Sheet Metal Local 17 in Dorchester purchased and installed its 900 square foot Testing and Balancing training laboratory that now allows all Local 17 contractors and other contractors a local source for training in state-of-the-art certified Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) and learning about state-of-the-art energy efficiency measures and equipment.

Greater Lawrence Technical School purchased a mobile solar panel training unit. Constructing this mobile lab has allowed GLTS to provide hands-on training in solar energy systems and understanding of the mechanics and theories of solar technology to traditional students, non-traditional students, and eventually other organizations in the surrounding community.

Minuteman Career and Technical High School in Lexington has used its funding to purchase equipment for the implementation and integration of a comprehensive Energy Technology Program. >With the creation of this program and hands-on training facility, Minuteman has established a laboratory suitable for the training of cross-disciplinary students, teachers, and adult night school participants using hands-on renewable energy applications. This has also been an excellent way to encourage and integrate discussion about the science and technology behind renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Community Teamwork Inc’s Youthbuild Lowell Program is making use of its equipment grant funds by developing weatherization job training for its academic training cycle. Students ages 16-24 have received training in safety and proper use of weatherization equipment, allowing them to practice on training models and then apply what they’ve learned in residences in the area. CTI YouthBuild has also used funds to purchase insulation and air-sealing equipment, and for materials to build attic and wall models on which students can practice current weatherization techniques.

In addition to the standard training offered at these and other training facilities, instructors provide top performing trainees opportunities to participate in certifications such as Building Performance Institute (BPI) and North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

With over 200 people currently going through clean energy training across the Commonwealth through this initiative, Massachusetts is well positioned to shape a far more knowledgeable and competitive workforce. Check for regularly updated info on the next round of trainings in your area.

Next up in this series: the efforts of MassCEC’s Clean Energy Curriculum Library. Thanks for reading!


Written By:

As Deputy Director of DOER's Green Communities Division, Lisa helps lead a team devoted to working with Massachusetts cities and towns to realize environmental and cost benefits of municipal energy efficiency and renewable energy. Prior to joining DOER, Lisa worked in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs from 2007 to 2012, first as Press Secretary and then as Assistant Secretary for Communications and Public Affairs. Her previous communications and public relations experience includes both government and the private sector, where, as principal of upWrite Communications, she served clients such as The Trustees of Reservations, The Nature Conservancy, and Partners Health Care/North Shore Medical Center. She began her career as a journalist, covering Beacon Hill for the State House News Service, and later wrote for a variety of other publications including The Boston Globe, Teacher Magazine, Animals Magazine, and The Gulf of Maine Times. The author of two books, Lisa serves on the board of the Saugus River Watershed Council and resides with her family in Melrose.

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