Program Targets Residential Energy Efficiency Industry
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Sept. 21, 2010) – With cooperation from key partners in business, industry, community and government, a pilot program is being developed by the University of Central Missouri to promote and expand “green” consumer demand while also training and mobilizing an energy retrofit workforce.
The university has received a $190,000 Missouri State Energy Sector Partnership and Training grant to establish the program, which is the only one of its kind nationally that focuses specifically on the residential energy-efficiency sector. The grant is provided by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Division of Workforce Development, which received federal funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Job creation and improved local economies are among the program’s proposed strategic outcomes, in addition to creating more energy-efficient homes in the area. The program addresses the need for more qualified personnel to conduct energy audits and energy retrofit projects covering a wide range of household improvements to curb energy usage, which results in utility cost savings for the homeowner. Examples of improvements include air and moisture sealing, insulation, HVAC, duct sealing, mechanical system upgrades, as well as the installation of new lighting, windows and doors.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to work with a wide variety of stakeholders to create the infrastructure needed to grow and sustain a viable energy retrofit industry and create needed jobs,” said
Scott Boyce, Workforce Development representative in UCM’s School of Graduate and Extended Studies. “Through partnerships, we’re building a foundation for the home energy retrofit industry that will create career opportunities for a wide range of people considering this field. Once proven locally, the program is planned to extend across Missouri and, potentially, across our nation.”
“In the Kansas City region there are 750,000 homes built before 2000, which is when the model energy codes first started being enforced. Twenty-two thousand of these homes changed ownership in 2009. If each of these homes had been retrofitted at the time of sale, we would have created a $350 million residential construction market, and Kansas City wouldn’t be in a recession today,” according to Rick Westmoreland, founder of the Retrofit Exchange.
Boyce added, the Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS) from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce, estimates that every $1 million of energy-efficiency investments results in five direct, five indirect, and 10 induced jobs. That’s in addition to substantial energy savings resulting in lower utility bills for homeowners and other economic stimulus factors. Based on this model, the Kansas City region could create up to a $1.2 billion residential construction market annually and create up to 24,000 jobs sustainable for 10 years.
To facilitate the residential energy-efficiency program, UCM will contract with subject-matter experts and education development specialists to develop retrofit-related courses. Beginning this fall, the courses will be offered to the general public in Kansas City and the surrounding region under UCM Workforce Central. The university will work within the workforce system, Full Employment Council, the Kansas City & Vicinity Workforce Investment Board, and West Central Workforce Investment Board specifically to identify and place into training dislocated workers, unemployed and under-employed individuals, military veterans and their spouses, people with disabilities, minorities, and women in nontraditional occupations.
Numerous organizations are cooperating with UCM to:
- Deliver training and certification programs necessary for individuals to obtain nationally recognized industry credentials for training energy raters, energy auditors and weatherization technicians;
- Design, develop and deliver training for the direct and indirect workforces within the retrofit industry, including detailed, flexible training and certifications that map competencies and job roles needed to run a successful retrofit business;
- Design workshops to educate key stakeholders in real estate, banking/finance, the building trades, and consumers on the value of the retrofit industry;
- Design programs deliverable in multi-formats, using instructor-led, online and blended learning solutions;
- Build career paths for workers to follow after obtaining education and work experience;
- Provide business training and services to support small businesses and contractors in the retrofit industry; and,
- Design, develop and deliver “train the trainer” programs that will support other educational institutions in launching and supporting a strong retrofit industry nationwide.
Organizations partnering with the university to make this program possible include the Greater Kansas City Building and Construction Trades Council; AFL-CIO; Liberty Homes; Rebuilding Management LLC; Hathmore Technologies; Kansas City & Vicinity Workforce Investment Board and the Full Employment Council. Since the model has been introduced, additional instrumental community stakeholders have pledged support, collaborated, and/or agreed to help with awareness campaigns as the project progresses. These include Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources, Missouri’s Division of Workforce Development, The Home Builders’ Association of Greater Kansas City, the West Central Workforce Investment Board, Kansas City Area Development Council, Missouri Senator David Pearce (31st District), and Missouri State Representative Denny Hoskins (121st District).
Members of such partnering organizations are excited about the opportunities this retrofit program offers.
“UCM is proving the value of re-engaging unemployed skilled workers and bringing new workers into the emerging green technologies,” said David Kendrick, Greater Kansas City Building and Construction Trades Council. “This provides new employment, reductions of the environmental impacts of wasted energy use, and the social impact of creating new industries in our area.”
“Building the skilled workforce for Missouri’s growing energy sector will be made possible by the top-notch training and support provided by UCM through this grant,” said Julie Gibson, Division of Workforce Development director. “Their partnership will be invaluable in preparing workers for productive careers in the vital renewable energy and retrofit industries.”
Clyde McQueen, president and CEO of The Full Employment Council added, “Green careers require flexible training at times that lead to flexible careers. The partnership between The Full Employment Council and the University of Central Missouri will lead to green careers in the Kansas City region for the 21st century.”
“I’m excited about the huge potential for UCM’s residential energy efficiency initiative to benefit our local communities, both economically and environmentally,” said Missouri Senator David Pearce. “This effort will likely result in tangible job creation for our area, as well as decreased utility costs for those who upgrade their homes to meet energy-efficiency standards. Overall, this means more money in the pockets of consumers, along with a positive impact on the environment.”
For more information, contact Scott Boyce at 816-875-3927, Ext. 110, or Laurel Hogue, grant project director for resources, budget and reports in UCM’s School of Graduate and Extended Studies, at 660-543-4674. Additional details also will be available online soon at www.ucmo.edu/retrofit.