$15 Million Now Available to Support Development of Skilled Workforce to Meet Projected Needs of Clean Energy Sectors While Increasing Access to Family- Sustaining Jobs
Advances Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act Goal to Ensure at Least 35 Percent with a Goal of 40 Percent of Benefits of Clean Energy Investments Are Directed to Disadvantaged Communities
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a new $45 million Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship Clean Energy Training Initiative. This initiative will expand the capacity of labor organizations to offer training as a pathway to clean energy careers. Through this initiative, $15 million is now available to support projects that develop a diverse and inclusive pipeline of skilled talent to meet projected workforce needs in a variety of clean energy sectors while increasing access to high-quality jobs with family-sustaining wages. This initiative advances a just transition to a clean energy workforce and the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) goal to ensure at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities.
“New York State is home to strong labor organizations with the expertise to train the workforce needed to support the clean energy transition,” Governor Hochul said. “This new initiative will ensure all New Yorkers who are interested in a career in the diverse green economy can gain the knowledge and skills necessary to enter and succeed in these growing sectors.”
Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), this three-year competitive funding opportunity was developed through a request for information with critical input from labor and other stakeholders received through that process.
NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “NYSERDA is pleased to support training and real-world experience in partnership with labor groups that are helping prepare New Yorkers to enter the thriving clean energy workforce. With a pipeline of renewable energy and building electrification projects moving towards operation and many more to come as we scale up to achieve the State’s Climate Act goals, it’s critically important to develop the talent needed in all areas of the industry and continue to foster the record job growth we’ve already seen during our transition to a clean energy economy.”
As part of this solicitation, proposed projects must address projected workforce needs and prepare pre-apprentices, apprentices, and journey workers for employment in at least one of the following clean energy technology areas: building electrification and energy efficiency technologies; renewable energy generation, interconnection, transmission, distribution, and storage; and electric vehicle charging station installation and repair.
Eligible training initiatives include:
- clean energy technical training for pre-apprentices, apprentices, and/or journey workers;
- curriculum development and expansion;
- train-the-trainer programs;
- equipment purchases for hands-on training, virtual reality training, and mobile labs;
- wrap-around services such as childcare and transportation to ensure an individual is positioned for success in a clean energy career; and
- K-12 career awareness and outreach activities.
NYSERDA will accept applications requesting up to $750,000 per project commensurate with the scale of training proposed with an additional $150,000 available for projects that include K-12 career awareness and outreach promoting clean energy jobs as part of a training initiative for a total of $900,000. For projects that do include a K-12 education and awareness component, at least 50 percent of participating schools or afterschool/summer programs must be located in a disadvantaged community or serve a majority of students from these communities. Cost share is not required but encouraged, with proposals that include other funding sources or in-kind services receiving additional points during evaluation, as well as higher consideration given for projects that exclusively train individuals from disadvantaged communities or priority populations.
New York State labor organizations, labor management committees and training centers affiliated with New York State labor organizations, and active New York State Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Programs and Direct Entry Pre-Apprenticeship Programs affiliated with New York State labor organizations are eligible to apply. Applicants may partner with other training entities such as community colleges and universities; veterans programs associated with New York State labor organizations and apprenticeships; technical schools, community-based and not-for-profit organizations; trade associations; manufacturers; and equipment suppliers.
Round 1 applications are due at 3:00 p.m. on February 7, 2024, with additional submission opportunities and deadlines throughout the year as outlined in the solicitation. Any unallocated funds from this initial offering will be made available in subsequent rounds over the next two years.
New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “Apprenticeships allow New Yorkers to earn money to support themselves and their families while learning valuable skills and gaining work experience in hundreds of different fields. By developing clean energy apprentices, New York State continues to strengthen local economies in the on-going transition to a low-carbon economy.”
Vice President of Programs at Nontraditional Employment for Women Katrice Thomas said, “NEW places and supports low-income women in trade careers through pre-apprenticeship programs. NYSERDA’s new funding initiative for clean energy jobs represents their commitment to building a sustainable workforce and lighting the way toward a cleaner future.”
President of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council Gary LaBarbera said, “As New York continues to invest in critical green infrastructure projects that not only propel us towards our clean energy goals, but also create thousands of family sustaining union careers, it is imperative that we properly develop a highly skilled workforce that can meet labor demands and effectively drive these initiatives forward. The Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship Clean Energy Training Initiative will play a key role in preparing our tradesmen and tradeswomen to get these projects off the ground, all while providing expanded opportunities for hard working New Yorkers of all backgrounds to pursue an accessible path to the middle class and create more economic stimulus within their communities.”
President of the New York State AFL-CIO Mario Cilento said, “If we want to do it right, New York’s green energy future must be built, operated, and maintained by highly skilled union workers. This initiative will help ensure that workers have the top-notch training they need while providing good-paying, middle-class jobs that are open and available to all New Yorkers.”
Today’s announcement builds on NYSERDA’s commitment of more than $170 million for workforce development and training initiatives which prioritizes targeting and benefiting priority populations such as low-income, disabled and previously incarcerated individuals, veterans, disadvantaged communities and unemployed fossil fuel workers. This portfolio of talent pipeline programs includes Energy Efficiency & Clean Technology Training, Offshore Wind Training, and On-the-Job Training supporting the ramp-up of clean energy businesses and hiring of skilled talent. NYSERDA recently launched an “Energizing Your Future” web page that includes information to help visitors to the site determine which clean energy sector is appealing to them and provides an overview of career paths with a list of popular jobs in that sector.
Funding for this initiative is through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). For more information about RGGI, please visit NYSERDA’s website.
New York State’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York’s unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $52 billion in 118 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, nearly $3 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2021 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with nearly 400 registered and more than 100 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change.