DOE Awards $5 Million to Minority Serving Institutions in Support of Clean Energy Education and Workforce Development Programs

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and MSI STEM R&D Consortium announced on March 27, 2024, a $5 million in funding for two minority-serving universities to support the development of programs that will equip students with the skills needed to succeed in clean energy careers. The funding was administered by the Integrated Strategies Office within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

This initiative supports President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which directs 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to flow to disadvantaged communities by helping to build a diverse science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) pipeline to support America’s clean energy future.

“Achieving equitable energy transitions across the country is not possible without a workforce that reflects the diversity of America. That’s why DOE provides minority serving institutions with the funding and support they need to educate, develop, and inspire the clean energy workforce of tomorrow. Innovation accelerates when there’s people with a variety of perspectives and backgrounds working together towards a common goal,” said Susan Hamm, director of the Integrated Strategies Office, EERE.

The following two universities were selected to receive funding for their workforce development projects:

Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee

Tennessee State University’s workforce development program will serve as a pathway to STEM degrees and equip African American, Hispanic, and Native American students with the skills needed for entry-level positions in the clean energy sector. Using a virtual reality platform, the project will offer an online training certificate coupled with in-person workshops in solar energy (including design, installation, and energy storage). The course will be made available to partner institutions, which include historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), and Tribal colleges, through a course-sharing agreement. Additionally, the project includes an entrepreneurship component, encouraging students to develop clean energy businesses to increase the number of clean energy businesses run by minorities.

[The NCCETC was selected as a sub-awardee to this project. We look forward to working with our partners at Tennessee State University to provide solar energy training and workshops to support the clean energy workforce of the future.]

University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas

The Hispanic Alliance for Clean Energy Education and Research project aims to strategically train students and build the workforce development capacity at six HSIs in Texas, New Mexico, and Puerto Rico. These institutions will develop programs to increase students’ awareness of career paths in the energy industry, expand their knowledge through systematically designed curricula on power and energy, expose students to cutting-edge clean energy research, and enhance their leadership skills. To support workforce development capacity building, the six institutions will share expertise and collaborate on research, course materials, and jointly mentor junior faculty members. Additionally, a plan is established to expand the project’s reach and impact beyond the six institutions to promote a growing sustainable workforce for the United States’ clean energy transition.

For more details on EERE’s STEM diversity and workforce development work, visit the Why Clean Energy Matters page.