Jan 19, 2024
2024 is the Year of Action
Steve Skodak, the CEO of BPA, shares his 2024 outlook for BPA and the industry.
By: Steve Skodak
The word of this year is action.
Over the past two years, clean energy jobs in the U.S. have grown by more than 10%, which is faster than the overall energy industry and overall U.S. employment. Our industry is expected to continue that trend as we begin to see the financial benefits from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022.
From where I sit, I’m certain that the year ahead will be full of action as State Energy Offices (SEOs) design and introduce the programs created to implement national funding for energy efficiency retrofits. Since the passage of the BIL and IRA, our industry has been working to define what a successful program will look like and how best to serve the needs of consumers as they work to improve their home’s efficiencies, comfort, and safety. The Building Performance Association (BPA) will continue working with SEOs to implement these Home Energy Rebate programs.
Many states will also release Requests for Information (RFIs) looking to stakeholders and organizations—like BPA—to provide guidance on how best to implement programs in support of our industry. BPA will continuously work to provide this feedback to support our network of nearly 23,000 members in the home performance space.
In 2023, BPA contracted with several states to perform needs assessments by convening groups of contractors and implementors. These assessments provided a clear description of a state’s specific needs as they relate to the people tasked with implementing programs in the coming years. We anticipate working with many more states in 2024 to perform these assessments.
Labor has been an ongoing challenge for all those in the trades, including home performance. In 2023, BPA developed and introduced a Department of Labor-approved Energy Specialist Apprenticeship Program to help expand the clean energy workforce and build a pipeline of highly qualified and diverse talent. We’ve begun working with local affiliate networks to introduce this apprenticeship and to find ways to secure on-the-job training funding. In 2024, we’ll continue to provide contractors with a meaningful way to engage and train new employees into the market.
On a related note, BPA will continue to work to support our service year volunteers through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. VISTA volunteers support the rollout of workforce development programs and serve as the industry’s “boots on the ground” for recruiting industry workers. Upon completion of their service year, these VISTA volunteers will also be good candidates for jobs supporting the work of SEOs, program implementors, and other nonprofit organizations in our space.
For workers who have recently joined the industry and those who’ve been here for a while, we’ll continue to offer education in many forms—the biggest of which is our regional and national conferences. In February, our team will be in New York for the 2024 Clean Energy for Homes Conference & Trade Show. Focused on region-specific education, this two-day event also features a trade show and networking opportunities. Then in April, we’ll be hosting our National Home Performance Conference & Trade Show in Minnesota. In its 38th year, this event always brings thousands and industry professionals together in the name of learning, growing, and putting ideas into action. This four-day conference will include more than 160 educational sessions and workshops along with a trade show.
Another area of action is in our affiliate network. Part of our mission is to create an extensive and robust network of affiliates at state levels as the foundation for the Association. Our state affiliates help amplify the work of BPA and provide local support to the industry. This year, we’ll be working to expand that network as these affiliates are crucial to industry advancement.
Whether we’re at an event with our members, hosting a policy webinar, sharing the latest news via social media, or working with leaders in the states, there will be one word that connects BPA’s work this year: action.
We look forward to supporting this industry and hope that you can join us in some capacity. As always, we’re stronger together.