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STEPs4GROWTH (S4G) trains North Carolinians for careers in clean energy.

Information by Category


STEPs4GROWTH (S4G) is a comprehensive clean energy workforce development project funded by a grant from the US Department of Commerce. It is led by NC A&T State University with support from NCBCE and other partners. STEPs4GROWTH works with employers to train students and adults to fill well-paying jobs in energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean vehicles, and grid & resiliency.

Dr. Balakrishna “Balu” Gokaraju and Dr. Greg Monty of NC A&T are the grant’s principal investigators.


If you are interested in connecting with STEPs4GROWTH and unsure about whom to reach out to, email Caroline Sullivan ( or Emma Friesen (

S4G is a sectoral partnership with 4 focus areas

NCBCE Backbone Sectors

Renewable Energy

Coordinator: Brandi Bragg (

Regional Training Partners: Martin Community College (hub), Roanoke-Chowan Community College, Carteret Community College, and Craven Community College

Student Support Specialists: Natasha Roberson ( and Nathan Stout (

The Clean Tech Center at North Carolina State University is the backbone leader for renewable energy.

Clean Vehicles

Coordinator: Rhonda High (

Regional Training Partners: Nash Community College, Edgecombe Community College, and Wilson Community College

Student Support Specialists: Stephanie Credle (, Paige Webb Ashman (, and Melissa Vandemark (

Energy Efficiency

Coordinator: Ezrenee A Major (

Advanced Energy is the backbone leader for energy efficiency.

Grid & Storage

Coordinator: Michael “Mike” Realon (

UNCC-EPIC is the backbone leader for grid modernization and cybersecurity.

The Appalachian Energy Center is the STEPs4GROWTH lead for battery and energy storage. They are the clearinghouse, integrator, and facilitator for energy storage technology applications and information within and across each S4G clean energy sector.

Contact: Kate Bashford (

Resources and Information for S4G participants

The video below showcases the summer 2022 solar youth apprenticeship program. NCBCE, NC A&T University, Halifax County Schools, Halifax Community College, and the NC Energy Office developed the pilot which ran in 2021 and 2022. In August of 2022, the US Department of Commerce awarded NC A&T a grant to expand this work to additional North Carolina counties in a variety of clean energy sectors through the STEPs4GROWTH initiative. You can also watch the summer 2021 solar youth apprenticeship program video here.

Career Spotlight Videos

Check out these videos of people who work in the energy sector, engineering, or construction. The Navigator online platform has various resources to help students learn about jobs, including career spotlight videos.

Careers in Clean Energy

Check out these webpages from to learn about various occupations related to clean energy, including the salary and job openings.

Resources and Information for Industry Partners and Employers


The Navigator is a tool provided at no cost to employers and educators in North Carolina, designed to connect classroom learning to career pathways. Through this platform employers post work-based learning engagement and information opportunities like career profiles, guest speakers, internships, and pre-apprenticeships. Educators can search for, request, and track their engagement through the platform. The leadership team of STEPs4GROWTH would love for companies who do work in the clean energy sector to post resources about jobs at their companies and internship programs on the Navigator. Students do not know about careers unless people tell them. Contact Brianna Green (, if you have questions about the Navigator or are interested in NCBCE filming a career spotlight at your organization.

LiNC-IT: the North Carolina Autism Employment Initiative

The DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility) strategy for STEPs4GROWTH includes LiNC-IT. LiNC-IT (Linking North Carolina with Innovative Talent) was launched in 2018 and is the first statewide workforce program to support autistic talent. It is an employment program for individuals with autism who are in college or have graduated from college. We want to help make clean energy internships and jobs accessible to autistic individuals. The current unemployment rate for individuals with autism is 86% despite the fact that many of these individuals have the skills and education employers need. LiNC-IT leverages vocational rehabilitation funding from the NC Department of Health and Human Services with high quality service providers who are experts in supporting autistic employees and their managers.

Employers can learn more about LiNC-IT here and potential participants can learn more about LiNC-IT here. You can also reach out to or Emma Friesen ( if you have questions or would like to learn more about LiNC-IT. Staff from LiNC-IT can also do presentations to industry partners about the program and supporting employees who are on the autism spectrum.

Currently employers have the opportunity to participate in a virtual training through UNC-TEACCH about how to better manage autistic employees. This training could also help people become better managers to all employees. Becoming more welcoming to interns and employees on the autism spectrum is a part of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility strategy of STEPs4GROWTH. See the flyer below for more information. (Currently the virtual training is in the beta phrase and free; eventually, it will cost to access the training.)


Kenan Fellows


STEPs4GROWTH is partnering with the Kenan Fellows Program at North Carolina State University through a grant provided by the North Carolina State Energy Office. Eight educators from across North Carolina will work with the STEPs4GROWTH leadership and employer partners to develop curriculum and experiences for K-12 students.