As the state’s electric vehicle industry continues to grow, Goodwill of North Georgia is working to train people for clean energy jobs. Now, the first cohort is enrolled in the Clean Tech Infrastructure Academy.

Over the six-week training period, students are paid to learn how to install and maintain electric vehicle chargers, heat pumps and solar panels. The program is a collaboration between several local and national organizations including Georgia Power, Atlanta Regional Commission, and Accenture.

Once they complete the training, the students are placed in entry-level jobs. Nigel West is part of the first cohort of 16 students. He said he joined after some family issues.

“In order to do what I need to do as the eldest child, I have to step up,” he said. “I have to increase income, which this program is allowing me to do."

Goodwill CEO Steve Preston said clean energy jobs are being created and this program gives students the skills companies want.

“So this is absolutely core to bridging that gap between people who need jobs to move forward in life and employers who need to fill those roles to be competitive and to grow their organizations,” he said.

The program received a five-year, $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand. Goodwill expects to work with over 200 participants during that time. North Georgia Goodwill Chief Mission Officer Jenny Taylor said the nonprofit is being intentional in its recruiting  efforts.

“We are about to change the face of what is a very pale and male industry, are we not?” she said. “We are focusing on women and people of color with our programing, and we are all about diversity and equity as we build the Clean Tech Infrastructure Academy and the Clean Tech Accelerator at the national level.”

The first Atlanta-based training cohort begins Monday, January 29th and ends Friday, February 23, 2024.


This article has been revised to clarify the dates of the training cohort. The first Atlanta-based training cohort begins Monday, Jan. 29 and ends Friday, Feb. 23, 2024.