The Florida Solar Energy Center at the University of Central Florida has been awarded a $482,000 grant for green jobs training. The cash, given under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will expand FSEC’s weatherization training program, which provides inspectors, contractors and other skilled workers training courses in energy efficiency retrofitting and weatherization services, such as house air sealing and air duct diagnoses and repair.
The U.S. Department of Energy selected 34 projects in 27 states to develop or expand weatherization training centers. FSEC is one of three training centers in Florida selected to receive part of the $29 million in funding. Under the Recovery Act, the Obama Administration is making unprecedented investments to help build a clean energy future, including $5 billion to significantly ramp up the pace of weatherization in the U.S.
FSEC plans to expand the scope and curriculum of their training center, originally created to train 150 weatherization inspectors for Florida’s Department of Community Affairs.
The new FSEC courses will integrate Florida-specific weatherization protocols into DOE-standardized weatherization training curricula. Additional training models will be developed to enrich learning and allow increased hands-on testing and measurements. The new course offerings will be applicable to inspectors, contractors and program managers.
The advanced training classes will include house envelope air sealing concepts and approaches; duct diagnosis and repair; resolving unbalanced return air problems; solving wind washing problems; the use of infrared thermography to diagnose thermal and air leakage failures in buildings; and combustion safety.
“A well-trained workforce will be a crucial part of America’s clean energy economy in the years ahead,” Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman said in a press release. “These investments in efficiency training programs will help build a foundation for long-term growth in America. Energy efficiency improves the competitiveness of our economy, benefits the environment, and puts Americans back to work.”
“Our training courses will not only teach students weatherization and energy efficiency techniques, but also the safety issues involved when the air tightness of a building is changed,” said Neil Moyer, principal research engineer at FSEC.