Minneapolis – June 14, 2022 – CenterPoint Energy, Minnesota’s largest natural gas utility, is teaming up with eight technical colleges and community nonprofit organizations to expand training opportunities for a diverse, next generation workforce to support energy efficiency in the state.
With approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, CenterPoint Energy’s workforce development initiative has two goals: 1) to increase the number of skilled trades professionals with energy efficiency expertise, and 2) to increase the diversity of this skilled trades workforce with a focus on historically underrepresented groups.
“CenterPoint Energy has long been a leader in helping our customers improve their energy efficiency to save money and reduce their carbon footprint,” said Christe Singleton, CenterPoint Energy’s Vice President of Minnesota Gas. “To continue and expand this commitment, it’s essential to develop a workforce equipped with the knowledge and skills to support energy efficiency in Minnesota homes and businesses.”
With its Conservation Improvement Program (CIP), CenterPoint Energy in Minnesota has long been recognized as having among the foremost natural gas energy efficiency programs in the country. In addition to conserving energy, lowering customers’ energy costs and reducing carbon emissions, energy efficiency programs support job creation and local economic development.
Energy efficiency is involved in a wide range of family-supporting career opportunities, including construction; energy auditing; weatherization/air sealing/insulation; and the installation and maintenance of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R) equipment.
Through a $2.5 million competitive grant program, CenterPoint Energy is teaming up with the following eight technical colleges and community nonprofit organizations:
A nonprofit leader in workforce development and behavioral health for 60 years, Avivo helps more than 11,000 individuals annually overcome significant barriers and achieve economic stability and advancement. In partnership with the Regional Apprenticeship Training Center in north Minneapolis, Avivo will offer career-track training programs in HVAC-R Technician and Facilities Maintenance Engineering.
Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) (mncee.org)
CEE is a clean energy nonprofit with special expertise in energy efficiency that stretches back nearly 40 years. Along with community partners, CEE will expand its residential energy efficiency training, internship and job placement program, with a focus on areas of concentrated poverty in suburban Hennepin County.
Dunwoody College of Technology (dunwoody.edu)
For more than 100 years, Dunwoody has trained and educated the future workforce for technical careers and applied trades. Dunwoody will provide scholarship support for students in its new Pathways to Careers program, which is designed to attract, train and graduate underserved and underrepresented populations.
Hennepin Technical College (hennepintech.edu)
Hennepin Technical College is one of the most diverse colleges in Minnesota and offers the largest HVAC-R program in the state. The College will expand the residential HVAC-R program at its Brooklyn Park campus, including acquisition of equipment for a new lab space. The College will also upgrade equipment for the HVAC-R program at its Eden Prairie campus and develop a new curriculum on automated energy management systems for commercial buildings.
Minneapolis Regional Chamber Development Foundation (mplschamber.com/foundation)
The Foundation supports the Elevate Futures initiative, including a digital platform to connect educators, employers, students and jobseekers to career exploration and job opportunities. The Foundation will develop a Careers in Energy learning module for the platform to provide information and insights into career pathways in energy efficiency.
ServeMinnesota oversees all AmeriCorps service programs in Minnesota. It will expand recruitment of low-income and racially diverse individuals for one year of service as Home Energy AmeriCorps members. Each individual will be matched with an energy professional from a local Community Action Program agency to gain training, coaching and work experience in the Weatherization Assistance Program as a gateway to career opportunities in the energy sector.
StudiOne-Eighty is a nonprofit organization located in south Minneapolis that operates Lake Street Works, a two-year construction skills, personal development and financial literacy training program for low-income, racially diverse 11th and 12th grade high school students. StudiOne-Eighty will remodel its building, including energy-efficient equipment, to support the Lake Street Works program.
Summit Academy OIC (saoic.org)
Summit is a nonprofit, accredited adult education center and workforce development agency with nearly 50 years of experience helping residents of the Twin Cities poorest neighborhoods acquire the skills, education and networks to obtain family-sustaining employment. Summit will develop and integrate an energy efficiency curriculum, including new equipment, into its 20-week construction training program.
About CenterPoint Energy, Inc.
As the only investor-owned electric and gas utility based in Texas, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP) is an energy delivery company with electric transmission and distribution, power generation and natural gas distribution operations that serve more than 7 million metered customers in Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas. As of March 31, 2022, the company owned approximately $35 billion in assets. With approximately 8,900 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 150 years. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com