Though the Climate Jobs Institute was established only recently, we’ve already begun work to support the State of Illinois’ clean energy transition.

2024 Research Agenda

Research projects currently underway include the following:

Clean Energy Mapping

CJI is mapping current clean energy investments, employers, training opportunities, and more to characterize the clean energy ecosystem in Illinois. We will be developing data packets and mapping tools to support the launch of the CEJA workforce programs and to assist communities in making decisions about clean energy investments.

CEJA Evaluation Support

CJI will be helping to evaluate the CEJA workforce programs, once they are in operation. This will include evaluating the implementation of these programs and providing recommendations for policy and practice. Currently, we are analyzing the need for technical assistance for CEJA grant applicants and the impact of that technical assistance on outcomes.

Organized Labor and Clean Energy Research

CJI is conducting an inventory of the clean energy workforce needs among labor unions in Illinois. We want to understand the extent to which the construction and building trades are involved in clean energy work to meet the demand for clean energy services, such as solar panel installation and energy efficiency upgrades. We also want to know how training and apprenticeship programs in the building trades have evolved to address new clean energy technologies and practices. Our goal is to identify strengths, gaps, and opportunities to engage the building trades in the clean energy transition.

Clean Energy Jobs Analyses

CJI is conducting research to better understand the clean energy job and training needs, helping to inform workforce policy and program implementation. We are analyzing job postings and Department of Labor data to recommend areas of focus for the state’s workforce training programs and other post-secondary education programs.

Workforce Program Inventory

Tens of thousands of dollars in state and federal funding is supporting the growth of the clean energy workforce in Illinois, from the CEJA and FEJA workforce programs to Inflation Reduction Act energy auditor training and utility energy efficiency workforce programs. CJI wants to better characterize where the money is going and how these programs can work together to grow the clean energy workforce. We will be documenting redundancies, gaps, and opportunities for collaboration among these workforce programs.

Other Activities

CEJA Implementation Support

The Climate Jobs Institute is part of a team of public universities providing research and technical assistance to support the launch of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act workforce programs. We collaborate with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to engage communities, assist grantees, and conduct the research necessary to support the implementation of the CEJA workforce, contractor, and economic development programs. Learn more about these CEJA programs here.

Hazmat Training

Hazmat training is a crucial skill for many members of the clean energy workforce. The Climate Jobs Institute is providing funding to offer free Hazmat training for current and prospective contractors.

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