ANSI, Interstate Renewable Energy Council to develop joint accreditation program for energy efficiency, renewable energy certificate programs offered by educational institutions to bolster workforce readiness
August 19, 2011
– The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), coordinator of the U.S. voluntary standardization system, has announced a partnership with the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) designed to help bolster the American workforce for the growing number of clean energy jobs of the future.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed July 28, ANSI and IREC will pursue an independent, joint accreditation program for credit or non-credit energy efficiency and renewable (excluding hydro-power) energy-related certificate programs offered in formal educational institutions and other legal entities. The initiative is being undertaken with advisory support from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
The goal of the IREC's ISPQ assessment program is to assess content, quality, and resources across a range of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and weatherization training programs. This process leads to defined workplace knowledge and skills, and ensures the legitimacy of what is being taught and by whom.
Launched in 2009, ANSI's Certificate Accreditation Program (ANSI-CAP) accredits organizations that issue education and training certificates to the U.S. workforce. The program is the first of its kind to provide third-party accreditation for training and education programs against a nationally recognized standard for quality certificate programs. The ANSI Certificate Accreditation Program currently has eleven accredited organizations and nineteen preliminary applicants.
The joint ANSI-IREC accreditation services would assess whether a certificate program's curriculum, educational process, and management system meet industry expectations, resulting in the issuance of a market-valued certificate.
"This MoU is just the latest example of ANSI's commitment to enhance the credentialing of personnel and fostering a more robust and qualified American workforce," said Dr. Roy Swift, ANSI senior program director of personnel credentialing accreditation programs. "The Institute brings many years of experience and government recognition in assisting in the delivery of quality accreditation programs. We look forward to partnering with IREC to demonstrate value and assure competency for this important national priority."
IREC's Executive Director Jane Weissman commented, "IREC's new standard will provide the framework for a specialty accreditation that will raise the bar for training the clean energy workforce. Our partnership with ANSI has been built on mutual respect and a common goal of quality assessment and training."
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and the American quality of life by promoting, facilitating, and safeguarding the integrity of the voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. Its membership is comprised of businesses, professional societies and trade associations, standards developers, government agencies, and consumer and labor organizations. The Institute represents the diverse interests of more than 125,000 companies and organizations and 3.5 million professionals worldwide.
The Institute is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and is a U.S. representative to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).
IREC has worked aggressively to break down barriers to renewable energy use since 1982. Throughout its history, the organization has been instrumental in rulemaking for connecting distributed power to the utility grid, quality assessment, workforce development, consumer protection and stakeholder coordination. Since 2005, IREC has been the North American Licensee for the ISPQ International Training Standard. Today, there are over 115 credentials awarded to training programs and instructors. For more information, visit www.irecusa.org.