Biden- Harris Administration Announces $4.5 Million to Build K-12 Staff Capacity and Lower Energy Costs for Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announces the Phase 1 Winners to share in the $4.5 million Energy Champions Leading the Advancement of Sustainable Schools Prize (Energy CLASS Prize), a competitive award promoting energy management in school districts across America. Twenty-five Local Education Agencies (LEAs) will each receive a $100,000 cash prize to establish, train, and support energy managers in their schools. These Energy Champions will develop projects and skills to lower energy costs, improve indoor air quality, and enhance learning environments in their communities. At the end of Phase 2, based on their performance, Phase 1 winners will be eligible for an extra $50,000 in funding. Energy CLASS Prize funds have the potential to impact over 700,000 students, in 1,300 schools, across 19 states. As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, this funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law advances the Department’s mission to streamline invest in clean energy workforce development, which is critical to the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050 while creating jobs, building a pipeline for young people, and supporting workers and communities across this nation.    

“Energy improvements for schools create healthier learning environments for our children and can help them reach their full potential in the classroom,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This Training Network is a terrific example how President Biden’s Investing in America is working to support communities around the country by providing training to our nation’s schools that will allow them to cut costs and carbon pollution.”.”

In tandem with these awards, DOE is facilitating the creation of a Training Network to provide skills development and coaching for Energy Champions. By participating in this Training Network, Energy Champions will build proficiencies to identify, plan, and implement infrastructure upgrades, developing institutional capacity to make long-term energy management — and therefore long-term savings, carbon reductions, and health gains — a lasting feature of their communities.

The Energy CLASS Prize is administered by the DOE’s Office of State and Community Energy Program (SCEP). Interest in the Energy CLASS Prize was broad, diverse, and indicative of widespread need in school communities. LEAs from 30 states submitted applications, 33% of which included rural schools, and 60% of which included DOE-identified Disadvantaged Communities. All applications included schools that are eligible for Title 1 Schoolwide Programming, and 77% identified as serving populations in which 50% or more students qualified for Free and Reduced-Price Lunch. Submissions represented approximately 1.5 million students and teachers from schools across America. 

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