Empowering Trade Allies for Building Efficiency and Electrification Research

About the Project

To achieve the goals of the Focus on Energy program, Trade Allies need a recruitment and training strategy that increases their capability to deliver products and services. This requires leveraging training capacity across the technical college system, trades, and independent training programs. The Empowering Trade Allies for Building Efficiency and Electrification Research Project aims to help Wisconsin best deploy federal workforce funds and building electrification and efficiency incentives through interviews with Trade Allies, technical college training programs, independent training programs, apprenticeship sponsors, and workforce development programs to define needed training, hiring, and business development support.

Researcher: Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA)

Timeline: November 2023 - July 2024

Sector: Research

Project Highlights

  • Trade Ally Interviews: Conducted forty interviews with Trade Allies providing building energy efficiency, energy management, energy auditing, insulation, air-sealing, plumbing, and HVAC services to define immediate and expected recruitment, hiring, and training needs.
  • Training Program Interviews: Conducted interviews with ten stakeholders representing available training, certification, and apprenticeship programs that support building efficiency and electrification workforce capacity.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Held a collaborative stakeholder review session in April 2024 with interview subjects and Focus on Energy staff to solicit feedback on the outcomes and recommendations in the report. The goal of the meeting was to work towards a consensus between Trade Allies and training providers, prioritizing recommendations for Focus on Energy and the state of Wisconsin.
  • Summary Report: The final report provides insights into the workforce needs and training program capacities in Wisconsin, summarizing the challenges and opportunities presented by the research. The report highlights recommendations for optimizing funding to support building electrification and energy efficiency upgrades for Wisconsin utility customers, complementing expected industry growth as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Key Findings and Recommendations

Six key recommendations were derived from Trade Ally and training provider interviews. These recommendations identify priority workforce needs and training program investments and strategies to scale energy efficiency and electrification initiatives, fostering a more robust and skilled workforce that can deliver quality energy efficient projects to Focus on Energy customers, helping Wisconsin to achieve its energy goals.

Build on Existing Programs

  • Create networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities
  • Promote trade careers to students
  • Support for employee training leading to industry recognized credentials
  • Support Apprenticeships
  • Leverage/model Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) training
  • Develop and formalize relationships between technical college and HVAC manufacturer/distributor training
  • Provide building analyst training and certification to existing professional

Support the Customer

  • Provide consumer education resources
  • Provide consumer education partnerships

Meet Trade Allies Where They Work

  • Support and promote worksite training
  • Offer financial support for training

Quality Control

  • Promote Trade Ally standards
  • Promote Trade Allies
  • Enhance communication on quality control

Supporting the Students

  • Provide wrap-around services
  • Support underserved markets
  • Increase scholarship opportunities

Empowering Instructors

  • Support professional development
  • Recruit instructors with industry experience
  • Offer financial support for lab equipment and curriculum


Empowering Trade Allies for Building Efficiency and Electrification Research Project

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