Request for Proposals: Equity Workforce Training Implementation

The Challenge: Create Opportunities for Underserved Individuals in the Clean Energy Workforce

Those most impacted by climate change are typically excluded from opportunities to obtain employment in the clean energy sector due to systemic barriers and lack of training opportunities that lead to career pathways.  As gaps in the workforce for climate-critical sectors grow, engaging underrepresented populations will be crucial, not just for equity, but also to ensure that the Commonwealth has the workforce needed to meet clean energy goals.

About Equity Workforce Training Implementation Grants

MassCEC's Equity Workforce Training Implementation Grants provide up to $1,200,000 across two to three years in grant funds and technical support to applicants developing or expanding programs that provide job training and support services to underserved individuals seeking employment in the clean energy sector. Successful applicants will propose projects that address barriers faced by these populations, demonstrate a high-level of employer engagement and leverage of existing workforce development systems, and lead to high-quality careers in climate-critical occupations.

Award Potential
Application Deadline
TBA late 2023
Questions? Contact

Funding Schedule

Equity Workforce Training Implementation Grants are awarded on an annual basis. Applicants not currently ready for program implementation should consider the Equity Workforce Training Planning Grants to prepare for the next round of implementation funding.

The current round of Equity Workforce Implementation Grants is now closed. The next round of applications will be announced in late 2023.

Round 1 Schedule (Now Closed)

Process Step


RFP Release

October 25, 2022

Questions Due to MassCEC via

Rolling, through March 10, 2023

Questions with Answers Posted to MassCEC Website

Updated monthly on 2nd Tuesday through March 14, 2023

Pre-Application Webinars

Dec 5, 2022, 1 pm

Jan 19, 2023, 3 pm

Pre-Application Office Hours

Jan 11, 2023 at 3 pm 

Jan 18, 2023 at 12 noon

Feb 8, 2023 at 6 pm

Feb 14, 2023 at 12 noon

Feb 22, 2023 at 6 pm

Join below

Proposals Due

March 20, 2023, by 11:59 pm

Interviews of Applicants (as needed)


Notification of Award

May 2023

Who's Eligible

Single organizations or partnerships are eligible to apply. Partnerships are strongly encouraged and may be looked upon more favorably to the extent that they can provide a range of expertise and experience to deliver a comprehensive proposal. One party should take on the role of Lead Applicant.

The following entities are eligible to serve as a Lead Applicant:

  • Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), including CBOs relying on a fiscal agent
  • Community Colleges, Colleges, and Universities
  • Comprehensive and Vocational High Schools, including Vocational Schools offering an after-hours or Career Technical Initiative evening training program
  • For-Profit Entities
  • Workforce Development Organizations
  • MassHire Workforce Investment Boards and Career Centers
Applicants that have received prior funding via the MassCEC Equity Workforce Training Planning Grants and Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprise Support Grants are eligible, as long as those applications are separate and distinct efforts from this proposed project.

For full eligibility requirements and other Program details, please refer to the Equity Workforce Training Implementation Grant Request for Proposals (RFP).


Application Process

The current round is now closed.  The following information is provided for reference only.

  1. Review the Equity Workforce Training Implementation Grant Request For Proposals (RFP).
  2. Review all RFP forms and attachments.
  3. Attend MassCEC informational webinars and/or use other informational resources offered.
  4. Contact MassCEC with questions or to discuss your ideas via at
  5. Complete all RFP forms and attachments according to instructions.
  6. Submit all completed RFP forms and attachments by email to by 11:59 pm on March 20, 2023, with "Equity Workforce Training Implementation Grant Application" in the subject line.

For full Program details, please refer to the RFP.

Application Materials

The current round is now closed.  The following information is provided for reference only.

Send completed application to 

Pre-Application Office Hours

MassCEC will host office hours when we announce the next round of Equity Workforce Training Implementation Grants in late 2023.

Pre-Application Webinars

Learn about the Equity Workforce Training Implementation Grants, including eligibility, budget, and the application process.  Watch a webinar recording or view the accompanying slides.  (The two webinars present the same material but have different Q&A segments.)

Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs were last updated on March 6, 2023.

Questions are accepted on a rolling basis until March 10, 2023. Answers will be posted on the second Tuesday of each month. Submit questions to

1. Must proposals be for three years?

Preference is given to three-year projects to allow time to solidify the program and address initial challenges, however two-year proposals up to $800,000 will be considered.

2. Can proposals include some initial time for program ramp-up? 

Yes, applicants may use the grant for up to six months of additional program planning, set-up, and recruitment. Successful applicants will propose projects that involve active participants during the first program year.

3. Does the proposed budget have to be similar for each year?

Program costs may vary from year to year. Some examples include the purchase of significant equipment in year one, or program plans that project to grow training cohort capacity across the grant years. These variations and others are acceptable and, in many cases, strategic. Applicants should detail the rationale and strategy in their proposal and budget narrative to ensure reviewers have clarity about their plans.

4. Can a 501(c)(6) non-profit apply for funding under this RFP?

Yes, a non-profit with a 501(c) designation is eligible to apply, so long as they meet the other eligibility requirements. These funds must be used for the eligible uses listed in the RFP and cannot be used for lobbying.

5. Is this funding intended to support only 2-year degrees and apprenticeships? Does it support the engineering workforce and 4-year degrees? Can it cover tuition and fees?

This funding is intended to stimulate entry of underrepresented individuals into the Clean Energy Workforce and into pathways that lead to occupations in Climate Critical Sectors, which includes certain types of engineers. Pathways may involve programs such as job training programs, apprenticeships, certificate programs, 2-year degrees, and 4-year degrees. This funding is not intended to provide full college scholarships. However, this funding can be used to implement the social support, education, and training of eligible individuals from targeted populations, which may include offsetting training and course fees, providing participant stipends, subsidizing wages for on-the-job training, etc. See Section VII of the RFP for further details on eligible uses.

6. Is MassCEC looking for applicants to take advantage of federal grants?

Yes, applicants are asked to leverage other resources, which may include federal grants and other matching sources of funding and/or funding that will continue after funds from this grant are expended to ensure the sustainability of the proposed program.

7. Are Veterans considered a community underrepresented in the Clean Energy Workforce?

Yes, especially female Veterans, since they are underrepresented currently. Male veterans have moderate representation in the Clean Energy Workforce, but if their designation as a Veteran is in addition to being a member of an EJ Neighborhood, Federally Recognized or State Acknowledged Tribe, or Fossil Fuel Worker, it will be viewed favorably.

8. Will Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) from trade associations fulfill the employer MOU requirement?

Yes, as long as the MOUs indicate either some level of commitment by the trade association and its members to interview program graduates for placement in appropriate positions, or an outright commitment to hire graduates. The MOUs are intended to demonstrate and solidify a clear potential for entry into the Clean Energy Workforce through the training programs.

9. Are Planning Grants available?

Through this solicitation, MassCEC may award some Planning Grants to those applicants that have a good concept but do not demonstrate the capacity to implement that concept at this stage. In addition, MassCEC plans to open another round of Equity Workforce Planning and Capacity Grants in early 2023.

10. Are there any limits or restrictions on types of wraparound support services?

No, there are no specific limits on types of wraparound support services to be provided via these programs. Working with marginalized and underrepresented communities often requires comprehensive and holistic support services to ensure success, so those proposals with thoughtful wraparound support service plans will likely score more favorably.

11. Is there a preference for training programs that provide college course credits?

Programs leading to attainment of a professional credential or a college degree or earning articulated credits may result in a more favorable score, but this is not a requirement under this solicitation, as certain occupation pathways do not align directly with college courses.

12. Are there caps on the amount of funds used to purchase or lease equipment?

No, however the amount requested must be reasonable within the context of the job training program, and all equipment must be designated for use within the program. Acquisition of equipment for general operating purposes is not an acceptable use of this funding.

13. Does the decarbonization of industrial processes and manufacturing supply chains qualify for funding under this RFP?

MassCEC is very interested in the supply chain related to Clean Energy Tech, such as the OSW and blue economy supply chain. Funding from this solicitation could be used to train individuals from targeted populations to enter jobs related to those supply chains, however directly supporting decarbonization projects does not qualify as an acceptable use of these funds. Other RFP opportunities and departments at MassCEC may be a more appropriate match for those projects.

14. If my organization previously received funding from the OSW team at MassCEC, are we still eligible for this solicitation?

Yes, organizations that have received prior funding from MassCEC are still eligible to respond to this solicitation, so long as the proposed program is separate and distinct from the programs supported by the prior funding. Expansion of an existing proven program to include new target populations or upskilling the delivered curriculum may be viewed as separate and distinct; extending and sustaining the existing program without any impactful changes will not be viewed as separate and distinct.

15. Can funds be used to cover program staff costs? Is it an expectation that those program staff hired specifically to deliver the program be retained after the term of the grant?

Yes, funds can be used to cover the salaries and benefits of staff delivering services related to the program. While it is not a specific requirement for a grantee to retain staff brought on for the program after the term of the grant, those applications that include plans to leverage other resources to sustain the program following the term of the grant may score more favorably.

16. Are you looking for educational or employer partners?

We are looking for both educational and employer partners to deliver training and secure job placements for participants. The proposal must have a comprehensive placement strategy that includes job development staff and commitment from two employer partners. We encourage applicants to connect with partners experienced with recruiting in historically marginalized communities to ensure participation from target populations. 

17. From an employer partner perspective, how do I tap into people graduating from this program?

Employers can reach out to existing planning grantees setting up training programs to ensure mutual understanding of the benefits and barriers of hiring program graduates. Partnerships can develop alignment between the training curriculum and employer expectations for qualifications of participants that increase likelihood of job placement. 

18. Is there a potential for small cohort meetings for those looking to connect within a specific industry? 

Yes, grantees will have opportunities to participate in community of practice cohort meetings hosted by MassCEC.

19. Should we partner with other entities interested in applying for the grant to set up training? 

Yes, we encourage partnerships with entities that have sufficient experience in setting up and deploying workforce development training programs or organizations that have extensive clean energy sector experience to ensure that the combined partnership offers the comprehensive range of skills and knowledge necessary to stand up clean energy workforce development programs. 

20. Can I use this funding to create a pipeline for middle management occupations?

Yes, funding can be used for upskilling training programs for middle management occupations if the individuals being trained are from target populations and are being placed in the climate critical sectors listed in the RFP.

21. When filling out the application, what level of detail is necessary when explaining who benefits from the training pipeline, and what group are these specific grants targeting? 

The applicant must specify which of the four target populations listed on the RFP will participate in the training pipeline. The target populations are Environmental Justice Neighborhoods and Low-Income Neighborhoods, Federally Recognized and State-Acknowledged Tribes, Fossil Fuel Workers, and other underrepresented communities in the clean energy sector.

22. In the outcome charts, if a participant remains in the program across multiple years, do you reflect that as accumulating numbers in the chart?

MassCEC will be tracking unique individuals participating. In the charts reflecting number of participants each year, it is best to show each individual at the point of intake or the point of completion, not cumulatively across years. For example, if 3 individuals are onboarded each year, the chart would show 3 | 3 | 3, not 3 | 6 | 9. Please note in the program design or other relevant section that the individuals will remain in the program across multiple years.

23. Are letters of support from community organizations substantial enough to prove there is a specific pipeline that trainees can pursue? How specific do letters of support need to be in terms of proving level of commitment?

Letters of support and MOUs must include, at the minimum, a commitment from employers to interview program graduates upon training completion. Employers who commit to match funds and fees for the training may be viewed more favorably. Letters of support that demonstrate the employer demand of the occupations in which the participants are training for may also be sufficient in proving commitment for partnerships.

24. Can the application form support graphs/charts?

The application form does support the inclusion of graphs and charts. Applicants should turn diagrams into a picture and embed them in relevant sections of the application form. Applicants should be mindful of word count limits and deduct the estimated number of words in a diagram from the affected word limit. Supplementary materials will not be considered in the application.

25. Does the application have to be completed in Word?

Applicants must submit the application form in Word or PDF.  The application form was created in Word, but applicants can certainly work in another program and save the final product as a PDF.  The uploaded PDF should reflect the general format and word limits, but MassCEC doesn’t have any restrictions about how to produce that.  Also, if applicants have any technical difficulties, our team monitors the inbox and is accustomed to providing troubleshooting support about the logistics of the application process.

26. How do I access the list of organizations interested in partnerships?

MassCEC is compiling a list of potential applicants interested in networking and partnerships for the open Workforce Equity grants. View the list here. Sign up to the partnership list by sending your contact name, contact info, type of organization, and focus sector to

27. Who should be the Lead Applicant on the grant when working with partners?

Preference is given to Lead Applicants who can handle the administration of the contract if awarded by MassCEC, which includes sending invoice requests, deliverables, and program status updates to MassCEC.

Other Resources

MassCEC will look favorably on applications that propose data-driven approaches and leverage pre-existing resources from the robust workforce development and clean energy sectors in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Applicants are advised to use the following and additional resources to inform their applications:

Workforce Development


MassCEC  is compiling a list of potential applicants interested in networking and partnerships for the open Workforce Equity grants. View the list here.

Sign up to the partnership list by sending your contact name, contact info, type of organization, and focus sector to

Additional Funding Opportunities