Preparing individuals from diverse communities to join the PV solar installation workforce across Illinois
On August 1, The Chicago Community Trust released a request for proposals for a $3 million solar training pipeline program funded by Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd).
The Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act, signed into law last year, is expected to drive a significant increase in PV solar installation across the state. This will require an expanded and qualified workforce to help meet anticipated demand. Preparing individuals from diverse communities to join this workforce is the pipeline program’s main objective.
The RFP calls for qualified organizations to design a program that:
- Recruits and enrolls people from “priority groups”: people with a criminal record and current and former foster children, with at least 50 percent of trainees recruited from environmental justice communities, which are predominately minority or low-income communities that are negatively and disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards
- Provides a pathway for trainees to enter solar industry careers, with an emphasis on rooftop and utility-scale PV installation, through hands-on training, relevant certifications, or both
- Coordinates with the Illinois Solar for All low-income installation program and other workforce development initiatives
- Partners with employers on job placement, resulting in 2,000 placements for trainees by 2029.
This is a statewide funding opportunity. Public, private and nonprofit solar workforce service providers with an established presence in Illinois are encouraged to apply. Due to the broad program objectives and desire for an integrated training pipeline, organizations applying in partnership with sub-grantees or leveraging other funding sources will be more competitive.
The timeline for the grant process is as follows:
- August 1: RFP released
- August 31: Proposals due by 11:59 p.m. CDT. Proposals must be submitted through GrantCentral, the Trust’s online grants management system.
- September: Proposal review process, including interviews and/or site visits for select applicants
- Q4 2017: Selection notification and project start date
Questions and Support
An information session was held on August 7 to address applicants’ questions about this grant opportunity. You can consult a list of Frequently Asked Questions from that session for more insight into the program.
Applicants may also speak with Foresight Design Initiative* staff during designated call-in hours to discuss their proposal development. Call-in hours will be available between 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. CDT on the following dates:
- August 9-11
- August 14
- August 21-23
Please contact email@example.com with the subject line “Solar Training RFP Call-in” to schedule a 30-minute slot for consultation.
*Foresight Design Initiative, a sustainability-focused innovation studio, is supporting The Chicago Community Trust in managing this RFP process, and will not review proposals.