Evansville PowerUp Initiative

Outcomes and Conclusions

The initial cohort of the PowerUp initiative was completed on August 28, 2020 – exactly 57 years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. While the initiative is still accepting individuals to participate, four trainees completed the solar training program and received stipends, certificates, and employment opportunities. As an example, one trainee was hired for a position at Morton Solar, while others went to work for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Additionally, the solar panels installed on the Greater St. James Community Recreation and Education Center have cut the center’s bills by 40 percent.

Challenges

A primary challenge for the initiative was ensuring that the trainees had access to the technology needed to complete the online modules. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was limited library access, which made it harder for trainees without a personal computer to fulfil the online portion. However, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association developed a phone application to provide more accessibility.

Another barrier was transportation accessibility. After the first cohort was completed and the trainees were offered positions at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Morton Solar, many individuals did not have access to a personal vehicle that could transport them to a utility-scale solar site. To alleviate transportation concerns, the NAACP identified a church bus that could be used for transportation. They have also advocated for more localized and community-based rooftop solar so that individuals can walk or use transit systems instead of needing a personal vehicle.

Project Resources

To learn more about the Evansville PowerUp Initiative, contact:

Denise Abdul-Rahman
Regional Field Organizer
darahman@naacpnet.org
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
(443) 915-2533

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