SMPA, Telluride Foundation, and EcoAction Partners debut Energy Workforce Development Program
Technician Preparing to Install Heat Pump

EcoAction Partners has partnered with the Telluride Foundation and San Miguel Power Association to create an Energy Workforce Development Program to support the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technology in our region. The Energy Workforce Development Program will serve applicants who would benefit from training opportunities to fill gaps in our existing regional energy workforce. Approved trainings include those on cold climate air source heat pumps, photovoltaics (solar power), home performance, building science, electric vehicle charging, RESNET HERS rater certification and more. Applicants for the Energy Workforce Development Program must live in San Miguel, Ouray, west Montrose County or the town of Rico. Program participants may apply to be compensated for the time they spend working toward approved certifications. The program is open to high school students as well as adults.

This initiative directly coincides with actions outlined in the Regional Climate Action Plan (CAP), published in 2021. The CAP covers eight thematic sectors, including Energy Supply, Building Energy Use and Transportation. Transition to renewable energy sources, increased electrification, and improving efficiency are key themes of these three sectors.

The 2020 Regional Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory identified that residential and commercial building energy use accounts for 45% of our region’s total GHG emissions, due to electricity, natural gas, and propane use. Vehicle use has increased significantly since our 2010 GHG baseline and accounts for another 23% of fossil fuel emissions. Transitioning our energy sources to cleaner and more local energy sources is one way to reduce our emissions. Other key strategies include increasing energy efficiency in new and existing buildings and electrifying our heating systems, appliances, and vehicles. This transition will not be possible without a well-trained workforce to provide the capacity and technical knowledge to upgrade existing infrastructure.

The Telluride Foundation and SMPA are providing funding support and EcoAction Partners will administer the program with the goal of increasing the depth of knowledge and resources in our regional energy workforce.

“We are thrilled to partner with EcoAction Partners on this program” said Elaine Demas, Vice President of Operations for the Telluride Foundation. “We have been working to get a renewable energy workforce program off the ground for a few years now, and the dedicated, knowledgeable staff at EcoAction helped make it happen. The Foundation is committed to supporting EcoAction Partners and the entire community as we work together to implement the actions identified in our regional CAP and this program does exactly that.”

To learn more about the program or to apply to participate please visit To learn more about the Regional Climate Action Plan, please visit or email