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Weatherization Assistance Program Launches Training for Administrative Professionals

April 15, 2020

NREL is excited to launch a new series of online trainings to support local agencies in delivering high-quality weatherization services that, on average, help households save $238 each year on energy bills. The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has provided energy efficiency services to approximately 35,000 homes annually for more than 40 years.

NREL developed the administrative trainings for the U.S. Department of Energy based on feedback from the WAP network at the 2017 Solutions Summit and American Customer Satisfaction Index responses. Local agency staff, along with input from the WAP network, identified the training module topics.  

The WAP network provided input through a questionnaire from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), and at the 2019 Continuous Improvement Workshop, which was detailed in a previous blog post. Module topics were selected to fill gaps in existing training resources, address specific challenges faced by local agencies, and support consistency across the WAP network.

“The intensive development phase of this project brought together an incredible team of WAP professionals from across the US who helped to infuse the curriculum with realistic problems and solutions for high-quality program administration,” said Anna Sullivan, Director of Credentialing for IREC.

The online training platform provides 29 modules that focus on various elements of WAP administration, including client interaction, production forecasting and subcontracting. On average, each module takes about 10-15 minutes and can be taken at any time. The modules are interactive, allowing WAP staff to practice tasks typically encountered on the job. The training platform also provides additional resources and job aids that users can download for reference after completing the trainings.

Still image representative of one of the training modules. Image shows a man speaking in front of a home and talking about common multifamily building measures that may help WAP administrators in training.
Figure 1: The Multifamily Weatherization learning pathway helps WAP administrators understand the different aspects that may play a role in multifamily weatherization projects.

The Learning Pathways

The modules are grouped into learning pathways to help WAP staff focus on the knowledge and skills their own jobs require.

Planning and Budget

Reviews how to plan in order to meet production goals for a WAP program while maintaining a budget.

Procurement

Identifies the process to procure equipment, materials, and services for a WAP program.

Client Relations

Helps WAP staff understand and practice different approaches to working with clients.

Economics of Weatherization

Explains how the energy audit, recommended measures and measure costs impact the cost effectiveness of weatherization. 

Fiscal Tasks

Covers fiscal processes for keeping a WAP program on budget and in compliance.

Management

Practices how to manage and train weatherization staff.

Quality Improvement

Demonstrates how to engage staff and subcontractors to ensure quality work.

Multifamily Weatherization

Explains how weatherizing multifamily buildings differs from weatherizing single-family homes.

Since the launch of the trainings in March 2020, nearly 1,000 individuals from across the WAP network have signed up and begun courses. The initial reception from the network has been positive.

According to one user, “Having previously been on the intake side of WAP, some of the staff-client interactions were spot on. Appropriate client interaction is not always easy. Listening to the phone conversations of the three intake staff was the best part [of the module].”

Users have also emphasized the benefits of the interactive nature of the training, noting that “the use of various characters and voices keep [the user] engaged.”

How To Access the Training

Visit the WAP Administrative Trainings site:

  1. Click on the link associated with ‘first time login”
  2. Use the code ‘waptraining’ to create an account
  3. Follow the instructions sent to your email to complete registration

For additional information on the training courses, watch this short demonstration.

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