CEJA directs the IPA to develop an Energy Workforce Database in consultation with the Department of Commerce and Economic Development that consists of a searchable database of vendors, suppliers, and contractors that are minority and women-owned business enterprise certified or are certified as EECs. The IPA’s Energy Workforce Equity Portal is designed to help connect clean energy companies with Equity Eligible Persons looking to work in the clean energy sector in Illinois. Developers of clean energy projects, such as developers of utility-scale wind, utility-scale solar, and brownfield site solar projects, can use this portal to advertise clean energy jobs and to search for Equity Eligible Persons seeking employment, as Equity Eligible Persons register on the portal. Developers can also use the portal to apply to qualify as an Equity Eligible Contractor. Please visit the IPA Energy Workforce Equity Portal here.
Phase I of the portal was launched on January 31, 2023 and includes:
- Information on qualifications and requirements for job seekers to become Equity Eligible Persons.
- A form for applying to be certified as Equity Eligible Person.
- A listing of Equity Eligible Persons who have volunteered to identify themselves to potential clean energy companies.
- Information on job postings from clean energy companies for which they are recruiting Equity Eligible Persons.
- Information on workforce training programs administered by DCEO.
- Equity Investment Eligible (EIE) Community Map that can be utilized by anyone to determine if they or someone else reside in an identified equity investment eligible community.
- Information on Equity Eligible Contractors participating in the IPA’s Adjustable Block Program.
- FAQs outlining commonly asked questions and answers on the portal.
- A user guide to help clean energy companies and Equity Eligible Persons navigate the portal easily.
Phase II will be launched later in 2023 and will include additional information on workforce and job training programs, and resources and reports related to diversity and equity in the clean energy in Illinois.
The IPA hosted a training for participants to get acquainted with the portal and its various functionalities. This includes advertising jobs and searching for Equity Eligible Persons seeking employment, as they register on the portal. The training is available here.
The Energy Workforce Equity Database should serve as a tool for applicants to find EEPs, but may not include the entire universe of available EEPs seeking clean energy work, since it will only list EEPs that voluntarily add their information to the database. The Database is still in development and applicants should not assume they will be able to rely solely on the Database to find EEPs to meet the Minimum Equity Standard.
CEJA provides that the Agency may utilize its discretion in rare circumstances to grant a waiver of the MES (20 ILCS 3855/1-75(c-10)(4)(E)). In describing the criteria for granting such a waiver, the statute provides that the Agency may do so “where the applicant provides evidence of significant efforts toward meeting the minimum equity commitment, including: use of the Energy Workforce Equity Database; efforts to hire or contract with entities that hire eligible persons; and efforts to establish contracting relationships with eligible contractors.” (20 ILCS 3855/1-75(c-10)(4)(E) (emphasis added)). The IPA posted waiver request forms to the Minimum Equity Standard webpage here: https://ipa.illinois.gov/diversity-equity-and-inclusion/minimum-equity-standard.html. As described in the waiver request form, requestors must receive at least 20 points to qualify for a waiver.