U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced a $23.7 million American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge grant to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to create STEPs4GROWTH, a clean energy workforce training program.
North Carolina A&T’s portion of the overall $500 million Good Jobs Challenge, which is funded by the American Rescue Plan, is the largest among the 32 worker-centered, industry-led workforce training partnerships across the country and is single-largest award the university has received for research.
STEPs4GROWTH will create quality, demand-driven training for the region’s growing clean energy sector. With a focus on equity, the program will use mobile training units in 16 economically distressed North Carolina counties to remove barriers to access and deliver training where workers are. STEPS4GROWTH will serve as a national training model that will create a diverse talent pipeline to support the economy.
“This is the first-ever Commerce Department initiative where we are totally focused on job training,” said Raimondo. “That’s what this is about – real jobs, family-sustaining jobs that everybody can get.”
As part of the project, more than 40 employers – including Strata Clean Energy, Enviva, Siemens, Duke and Blue Ridge Power – have committed to hiring 3,000 STEPs4GROWTH trainees over four years, then 1,500 trainees every year afterward.