Office of Energy Resources and Rhode Island Commerce Renewable Energy Fund announce Clean Energy Internship Program efforts to enhance diversity in the workforce | Rhode Island Commerce

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Office of Energy Resources (OER) and the Renewable Energy Fund (REF) at RI Commerce are making strides to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion measures in the RI Clean Energy Internship Program. OER and REF have partnered with Browning the Green Space (BGS) to assist in the recruitment and training of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) for the RI Clean Energy Internship Program.

BGS is a collation of clean energy and climate companies and organizations that work together to increase equitable participation in the clean energy space. They will recruit, track, and train a cohort of BIPOC students participating in the summer 2024 pilot round. Part of this training includes career readiness workshops and tracking the recruited student’s professional progress through one-year post-completion of the Internship Program.

These efforts will accompany on-the-job training and career-readiness support that all Clean Energy Interns receive throughout the 12-week program.

“It is essential to grow the different clean energy sectors in an equitable and inclusive way to ensure all Rhode Islanders are given an equal opportunity to work in the state’s growing clean energy professions,” said Acting State Energy Commissioner Chris Kearns. “By prioritizing equity, we aim to improve economic opportunities and support a vibrant clean energy workforce that represents the rich diversity of Rhode Island’s population.”

“Programs that create opportunities for our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities are an investment in our future,” said Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner. “These types of internships help set our diverse talent pool up for a more promising future, while also helping our state achieve its ambitious clean energy goals which will benefit Rhode Island for generations to come.”

Through the Clean Energy Internship Program, OER and REF seek to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive clean energy workforce in Rhode Island that can support a strong clean energy economy. OER and REF are looking to increase the participation and leadership of BIPOC students in the internship program.

In October 2023, OER and REF issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for an expert consultant with experience in BIPOC engagement and workforce development to bolster participation from this group.

The Rhode Island Clean Energy Internship Program aims to foster the growth of the clean energy workforce by providing funding and internship opportunities in various clean energy sectors, including marketing, consulting, engineering, research, solar, and energy efficiency. Since the program launched in 2019, 85 students have been placed across 20 different host companies located in RI. Ten students have hired by eight different employers for continued full-time employment.

For more information, please visit Rhode Island’s Clean Energy Internships & Job Placement Resources.