700 Contractors Get Free Grade I Training
By Stacy Fitzgerald-Redd
Early this year, Insulation Institute set out to train as many contractors as possible how to achieve Grade I installation with fiberglass batt insulation. We selected three trainers to conduct half-day sessions in four states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. Thirty-three sessions have been conducted or planned, and 700 participants will have completed the free training by the end of the year.
Insulation Institute spoke recently with each of the trainers to get their feedback on the program and any key takeaways they wanted to share.
Feedback from Trainers
In just five months, Lauren Westmoreland of the Southeast Energy Alliance has trained hundreds of insulation contractors. A Spanish-language translator has been used in three of the training sessions to accommodate contractors who are not native English speakers.
When asked what surprised her the most about the training sessions, Westmoreland said, “I worried that it might be more difficult for the native Spanish speakers to learn the content, since it was new information to the translator as well, but those participants were just as active in grading the installation – and correctly I might add.”
Chuck Perry of Appalachian State University and Perry-Built Homes is a veteran of Insulation Institute Grade I training, having conducted the same training sessions last year. Since late spring, he’s trained several hundred installers and has additional training sessions scheduled through the end of the month.
“My biggest surprise so far has been the number of installers per training. Last time, we had an average of 12 installers per training. This time, we have about 25 people per session,” Perry said. “I’m also surprised that no one has extended such training services to this segment of the industry. What is more important in energy efficiency than properly installed insulation? I took my first energy efficiency/building science class in 2003, and 15 years later, I’m teaching insulation installers what I learned in 2003.”
Jason Vandever of, South-Central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER) put his prior experience educating consumers and industry members about the benefits of insulation and energy efficiency to great use in training dozens of contractors since the beginning of May.
“While the trainings have been a bit tougher than expected to get scheduled, they’ve been well-received when delivered,” Vandever said. “All of the contractors have definitely learned something, and they appreciate me reinforcing messages they may have already heard. Also, they like that I ask them what they’d like emphasized as it helps reinforce corrections to any issues they’ve been having.”
Feedback from Contracting Companies
The response from the insulation contracting company owners to this free training has been overwhelmingly positive. Like each of the other trainers, Perry has received testimonials from the companies who have participated. Below is an example:
I want to thank you for taking the time to run the training course for our team this past Saturday. It was such a pleasure to watch the crews’ faces light up spending time with you in your classroom. You are doing a wonderful thing, and I hope we can coordinate future training courses with you all.
Here’s a link to our careers page if you have any students or contacts that may be interested in a career with our organization.
Janet Row, Chief Operating Officer, Energy One America
Training Sessions Continue in 2019
Insulation Institute will host similar training sessions throughout 2019, and although no dates have been selected yet, we will post information about upcoming trainings as soon as it becomes available.