U.S. Secretaries of Energy and Labor Tour Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) to Showcase Startup Innovation and Green Jobs

Secretaries Granholm & Walsh Joined by Members of Congress Meet LACI Start-up Founders & Green Workforce Graduates, Learn more about LACI’s Transportation Electrification Partnership

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh put a spotlight on Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s leadership in creating an inclusive green economy through startup innovation, workforce training, and transportation electrification.

Led by LACI President and CEO Matt Petersen and joined by Congresswomen Linda Sanchez, Judy Chu and Norma Torres, as well as LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis, the two Cabinet secretaries talked with LACI startup founders and green jobs training graduates, while also learning about LACI’s groundbreaking Transportation Electrification Partnership. In 2021, LACI won two related US Department of Energy grants, including $1 million from DOE OTT EPIC for startup innovation through startup pilots, as well as $3.6 million from DOE VTO to increase the use of EVs for commercial delivery building on LACI’s Zero Emissions Delivery Zone pilot in partnership with the City of Santa Monica. LACI has also presented recommendations from the 2021 Green Jobs report (i.e., renewing green job tracking and definitions at the federal level) to Secretary Walsh’s senior staff.

The Secretaries discussed with LACI staff and entrepreneurs how the Biden Administration is fostering innovation through its Bipartisan Infrastructure law and a series of executive orders to grow the economy and restore America’s economic leadership in addressing the climate crisis.

LACI is proud to host Secretaries Granholm and Walsh to showcase our entrepreneurs and programs, as well as highlight the work we have done with the Departments of Energy and Labor,” Matt Petersen said. “LACI is truly a national model for creating public private partnerships that move us towards a more inclusive green economy by accelerating equitable climate action. It says a lot about the importance of our work in Los Angeles that two Cabinet Secretaries wanted to see firsthand the ways in which we are unlocking innovation that will transform and grow our economy into a model of clean energy and equity for all.”

What is really unique about LACI is that they are on both sides of the equation: Incubating these businesses and training the workforce for these businesses, with a lens of equity,” said Energy Secretary Granholm. “We want people to see the great opportunity in clean energy as a future. Those who are working in oil and gas, they have powered our nation for 100 years and we are grateful. But we want them to see themselves as powering our nation for the next 100 years as well, in clean energy. We know that the clean energy economy provides all kinds of jobs for people in all pockets of America.”

Today we saw what is really required for a true clean energy transition. It requires innovations, investment, community engagement and especially workforce training. We saw today at LACI that it is possible to address the climate crisis in a way that expands opportunities,” said Labor Secretary Walsh. “The jobs the LACI’s startup companies are creating by developing and deploying technologies to make our communities healthier and stronger are great models that need to be deployed across the country. The possibility of creating good jobs for workers in communities that have been shut out in the past is the future that the Biden Administration is investing in and that LACI is demonstrating is absolutely achievable.”

Without the work of LACI, without pilot funding, without being able to present our concepts to funders, ChargerHelp! would not be in 11 states expanding to 50 states. Charger help would not have 35 employees. ChargerHelp! would not be a black owned company that has raised 4.25 million in venture capital,” said the startup company’s CEO, Kamaele C. Terry. “Let’s offer hope: the opportunity to create a new workforce, a workforce that’s okay with getting dirty, and a workforce that’s okay with plugging in a laptop computer.”

On behalf of LACI’s partners in the public and private sectors, I want to thank Secretary Granholm, Secretary Walsh, and the Biden Administration for their commitment to act on climate, the support of cleantech entrepreneurs and growing the green workforce, and embracing the critical role of zero emission transportation,” Petersen concluded. “We look forward to doing more to help advance climate equity and the Administration’s Justice40 commitment, such as through the EVs for All bill that LACI is sponsoring in Congress.”

The tour took the officials through La Kretz Innovation Campus—owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power—in the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles, which is LACI’s home. The tour included a stop at LACI’s Advanced Prototyping Center where graduates of LACI’s innovative job training program shared their professional accomplishments and successes in green economy careers. On the tour, the Secretaries and members of Congress met the founders of Automotus, ChargerHelp!, ElectricFish, Electrum (formerly PickmySolar), Hive and URB-E.

About The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)

LACI is creating an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation by working with startups to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies; transforming markets through partnerships with policymakers, innovators, and market leaders in transportation, energy and sustainable cities; and enhancing communities through workforce development, pilots, and other programs. In the last ten years, LACI has helped 315 portfolio companies raise $695 million in funding and create over 2,480 jobs in the LA region, with a projected long-term economic impact on the LA region of more than $555 million dollars. Founded as an economic development initiative by the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Water & Power (LADWP), LACI is a non-profit recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI. Learn more at laci.org.


Regan Keller