Season 5 • Episode 6

Advancing Energy Justice in Illinois


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About Season 5 Episode 6: Advancing Energy Justice in Illinois

Illinois stands out as a leader in solar development across the United States. Essential to this progress are various solar training programs, notably those run by Chicago Urban League, which play a crucial role in meeting the workforce demands necessary for the sector’s advancement. 

In this episode of the Rise Up Podcast, Andrew Wells, Vice President of Workforce Development for the Chicago Urban League, discusses the opportunities and challenges of solar workforce development in Chicago.

About Our Guest: Andrew Wells

 A Chicago native, Andrew is a community advocate and a champion of building more equitable social systems. He is on the Board of Directors for the Love, Unity & Values (LUV) Institute, a member of the Guiding Team for the City of Chicago Digital Equity Plan, and, since 2013, has been the Vice President of Workforce Development for the Chicago Urban League, a nonprofit organization that provides a range of services, including job training, education, and housing assistance.

Part of his work with the Chicago Urban League has been starting a solar job training program to expose the new field of renewable energy to the Chicago public. He also led a project for the Urban League to install solar panels onto their building, along with a solar carport in the Urban League’s parking lot, making it the largest solar installation project in the city.

Episode Chapters:

00:00 Andrew Wells Introduction

1:47 The LUV Institute

2:21 Changes in the City of Chicago

4:14 Chicago Urban League’s work

7:21 Workforce Development

8:37 Solar job placement challenges

16:12 Illinois Green Bank and Solar for All

19:55 Solar Project Management

25:55 Instructor capacity

29:04 What more is needed

32:19 Closing thoughts

Midwest Consumers’ Guide To The Energy Transition

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