Philadelphia OIC and PECO Energy have partnered to launch a new energy jobs training program that will benefit low-income communities.
As part of its commitment to driving innovation in energy and environmental leadership, PECO will provide the OIC with a $100,000 grant over the next two years.
“This Energy Jobs for All grant will serve as seed money over the next few years to support the development of an energy jobs training curriculum, which in addition to natural gas jobs, will also create solar jobs training,” Craig Adams, the president of PECO Energy, said during a press conference Thursday.
“This aims to ensure there is a diverse workforce for all the energy jobs as they become available,” he added.
Mayor Jim Kenney hailed PECO and Philadelphia OIC officials for developing the new program.
“Thanks for this grant we have job development program in a growing industry that benefits all city residents,” Kenney said. “This is another great example of how everyone benefits from public private partnerships.”
Kevin R. Johnson, the CEO of Philadelphia OIC, says the nonprofit that founded by the late Rev. Leon Sullivan has been working during the past two years to expand training in the areas of banking, energy and construction.
The OIC Philadelphia PECO Smart Energy Training program is slated to begin in January. Participating students will receive training in solar panel installation, construction work site safety and environmental communication. Students who complete the training program will be eligible to take a certification training exam.
“That is what we are all about, empowering people so that they can help themselves, “Johnson said. “This is just the first step of imagining greatness. “
He said the organization seeks to address the critical issue of poverty in Philadelphia by offering workforce training programs.
State Rep. Donna Bullock (D-195) was on hand to tout her new legislation, which aims to allow utilities to buy local solar energy and make investments in urban areas.
“The reality is solar is seen as a luxury,” Bullock said. “It’s seen as something that is out of reach for a social economic class. I say it’s time to level the playing field.
“[House Bill] 1799 would allow utility companies like PECO to own and operate solar sites throughout our commonwealth,” she said.