Building holistic solutions to increase workforce diversity
In 2022, Energy Trust began exploring a path to build a more inclusive clean energy industry by launching the Contractor Development Pathway offer, which connects Black-owned, Indigenous-owned, person of color-owned, women-owned and rural contractor businesses with resources to grow their businesses and complete more projects with Energy Trust programs. The pathway also offers support for contractors who wish to enroll in Energy Trust’s Trade Ally Network, where they can access benefits like business leads, specialized training and a voice in shaping our direction.
We co-created the pathway with input from contractors and trade organizations, and we plan to continue adapting it based on lessons learned. Contractors who participated in 2022 told us that to complete more energy projects, they need more than just technical training. Equally important is providing support to integrate energy efficiency into their existing business structure.
Energy Trust—in partnership with nonprofit Elevate and energy engineering firm Burch Energy Solutions—created a more holistic suite of services that includes additional support for the entire business, not just installers.
That’s why the next group of contractors to participate in the Contractor Development Pathway will have access to a more robust suite of business development services. In addition to providing funds for investments to help grow their business—like tools and technology to do more clean energy upgrades—participating contractors can access no-cost technical services like marketing consultation and support for their websites. Energy Trust will also introduce a new mentorship structure that pairs pathway members with peer businesses that are more established in the energy space.
For Burch Energy Solutions founder and owner David Burchfield, clean energy is an opportunity to make the world a better place, “through equity in an industry where minorities have historically been excluded. And in providing for our families with jobs in the clean energy revolution. It’s a win for the environment and a win for underutilized and underrepresented communities.”