Central Coast Community Energy has launched its Electrification and Innovation Grant Program. Totaling $1 million in available funds, this second iteration of grants focused on community education about electrification and its benefits has been expanded to include two new focus areas: workforce training and development as well as a separate track for cities and counties served by CCCE, known as CCCE member agencies.

With shared interests around reducing emissions and advancing clean energy technologies and resources, CCCE and its member agencies can collaborate around grant funds that support the planning and implementation of city and county electrification projects such as fleet vehicle operations, municipal properties, and community infrastructure. The member agency track also includes funds for innovation in support of deploying new and innovative electrification or energy technologies.

“The need for greater awareness and understanding about the benefits of electrification represents significant opportunities to support and educate households and businesses to adopt proven and cost-effective measures,” explains CCCE CEO, Tom Habashi. “The same can be said for the construction and automotive trades. Investments in workforce training and development focused on electrification will ultimately help the advancement of electrification along the Central Coast.”

The first round of electrification education grant funds distributed by CCCE awarded several local organizations with funds to provide individuals, households, and businesses with guidance and resources on their journeys toward purchasing or leasing new or pre-owned electric vehicles. These grant awardees also shared goals around addressing equity and access barriers for Central Coast’s underserved communities and Spanish speaking population. One grant recipient, Rancho Cielo, used the funds to bolster an already successful workforce training program that provides graduates with access to living-wage jobs which give them an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. Rancho Cielo plans to incorporate electrification training into both its construction and agriculture mechanics and electrical programs.

With a renewed focus on workforce training plus new funding opportunities unique to CCCE member agencies, Central Coast Community Energy hopes this round of grant funding will address gaps in workforce training that have slowed the advancement of electrification in the building and transportation sectors. Additionally, funding gaps that often slow planning and implementation of municipal electrification projects could now be addressed through member agency track funding as well as this track’s innovation fund.

“Prior CCCE education grant recipients are already doing innovative and inclusive work with the funds they’ve received,” shares CCCE Policy Board Chair and Salinas City Councilmember, Steve McShane. “We hope this next round of grants will result in greater CCCE Energy Program participation by putting more community-based organizations and our cities and counties in a position to scale up their own electrification education, planning, implementation, and innovation.”

CCCE Electrification and Innovation Grant Program fund applications for the Community Education and Workforce Track will be open for 60 days, until February 7, 2022. Applications for the Member Agency Track will also be open for 60 days until February 7, 2022, but based on participation rates, this track could be extended for another 60 days. For more information, visit www.3cenergy.org/electrification-and-innovation-grant-program/.