Announcement: Eco3 Energy Training Corps

Person uses a caulk gun to seal around a basement window.

Ecolibrium3 is pleased to announce that we have been awarded an AmeriCorps State and National Grant for 2024 to build an Energy Training Corps. This crew of 25 people will help weatherize homes for residents while learning job skills for future careers in the energy efficiency and home electrification fields.

Our Energy program currently offers energy efficiency services to all customers of Minnesota Power and Comfort Systems in Duluth, and gives special assistance to households that cannot afford to keep their homes adequately warm at a reasonable cost. Much of this work is done through home assessments, which provide detailed and personalized information on how residents can improve their home’s energy efficiency. 

The creation of an Energy Training Corps will allow us to expand our current assessment capacity, and move beyond the assessment alone. Corps members will perform physical energy efficiency improvements recommended by our assessments, such as installing insulation and improving air sealing. Weatherization (this air sealing and insulation) makes homes more energy efficient and comfortable, as well as making utility bills more affordable. (Learn more about the importance of weatherization.) Finding trusted individuals to perform improvements can be difficult in our region, and the Corps can offer these services as a direct follow up service, providing the resident with a clearer pathway to next steps.

The Corps will also assist homeowners beyond weatherization. The Energy program will expand to help residents with home electrification, indoor air quality, climate resilience, and safety updates that allow older adults to stay in their homes longer. These services aim to improve the day-to-day lives of our neighbors, and in the process, build a thriving and resilient community. 

The Energy Training Corps will prepare workers for green careers in climate and community work. Energy efficiency and electrification are growing fields, and upon ending their service Corps members will be well-positioned for full time employment in the local trades. Members will gain valuable energy industry credentials during their service, such as the Building Performance Institute’s Building Analyst Professional  certification. Think of this program as a great first step into the energy industry to provide members with baseline building science knowledge. 

Ecolibrium3 has a longstanding relationship with AmeriCorps through our VISTA program and we are delighted to continue working with AmeriCorps through the State and National program. This program is distinct from VISTA and there are core differences in member experience. VISTA members build capacity at their host sites, while AmeriCorps members perform direct, hands-on service. In addition, our VISTA members are placed throughout the region, while all the Energy Training Corps members will serve with Ecolibrium3. 

Energy Training Corps positions are likely to open for application this summer. If you are interested in applying, please join our mailing list or follow us on social media for updates on the program.