New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the availability of $27.5 million in new funding for workforce development and training initiatives to help prepare New Yorkers for the clean energy industry’s growing job opportunities. The announcement was coupled with the release of the 2018 New York Clean Energy Industry Report by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which shows that over 151,000 workers are now employed across the state in the clean energy sector, with over 5,600 jobs added last year.
The announcements support Governor Cuomo’s ambitious clean energy mandate for half of electricity to come from renewable energy by 2030 and the statewide goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030.
“By investing in our clean energy workforce, we are supporting the industry’s growing demands while creating jobs throughout the state utilizing clean energy technologies that will reduce emissions and protect our environment,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our nation-leading commitment to fighting climate change is also an economic driver that is creating good-paying jobs all across the state.”
NYSERDA is making $27.5 million available in workforce development hiring and training incentives to assist clean energy businesses with recruiting and training new employees, “up-skilling” existing workers, and establishing a talent pipeline to reduce businesses cost of attracting and hiring new workers. New training initiatives and businesses providing full-time jobs for workers in priority populations will receive preference and be eligible for additional incentives.
Such priority populations include low-income individuals, veterans, Native Americans, disabled workers, displaced power plant workers, and the formerly incarcerated.
“Clean energy jobs are the workforce of the future, and New Yorkers need to be prepared,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This funding for workforce development and training programs will provide individuals with the skills they need for good paying jobs, helping to ensure high-tech companies have the workforce they need to grow and succeed in New York State. We’re investing in development and training initiatives to meet our aggressive clean energy goals of increasing use of renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Workforce funding includes:
- $7 million for Energy Efficiency and Clean Technology Training: Training providers – including but not limited to unions, colleges and universities, and technical high schools – who seek to develop and deliver training, provide hands-on experience and job placement assistance to ensure that new and existing workers have the clean tech skills businesses need can apply for funding to support those efforts.
- $10 million for On-the-Job Training: Eligible energy efficiency and cleantech businesses throughout New York’s supply chain can apply for funding aimed at helping hire and provide on-the-job training for new workers.
- $10.5 million Clean Energy Internship Program: Energy efficiency and clean technology businesses can apply for reimbursement funding for a significant portion of an intern’s wages if the employer offers paid internship opportunities to college students or 18- to 24-year-olds in technical training programs.
The 2018 New York Clean Energy Industry Report compares data on clean energy jobs, geographic distribution, and employee needs, revealing important patterns and trends to inform policy recommendations about how to meet New York’s climate goals, help create jobs, and drive economic opportunity across the state.
Clean energy job growth spans a diverse set of technologies and comes alongside aggressive policies that highlight the state’s overarching vision to create a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system. Among those is New Efficiency: New York, the new energy efficiency 2025 target unveiled by Governor Cuomo in April to pursue improvements that reduce energy consumption across the state and enable New York to deliver nearly one third of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to meet New York’s climate goal of 40% reduction by 2030.
In 2017, New York’s clean energy jobs increased roughly 4% — outpacing statewide average employment growth of 1.6% during the same time — bringing the total number of clean energy jobs to more than 151,000. New York now ranks third nationally both for energy efficiency employment and solar jobs, and other sectors such as grid modernization and energy storage are growing at a fast pace.
“Under Governor Cuomo, we are moving beyond a dirty fossil fuel economy to one focused on clean energy innovation which is fueling job growth and attracting the private capital needed for greater economic opportunity,” said Richard Kauffman, Chair of Energy and Finance for New York State. “Providing new funding to train New Yorkers for the clean energy revolution will ensure we have a vibrant and well-equipped workforce to combat climate change today.”
Key findings from this year’s report include:
- Energy efficiency is the largest clean energy technology category in terms of jobs and investments – employing 117,300 workers in 2017 with firms receiving over $4.1 billion in investments since 2011.
- Clean energy employers are bullish on New York’s Clean Energy Economy. They expect to hire over 8,000 new workers in 2018 alone.
- Clean energy provides opportunities in all regions of the state. New Yorkers are rapidly embracing clean energy options, which is fueling job growth in communities across the state.
- Support for accelerating and commercializing clean energy technologies is needed for sustained growth. Continued investments for product demonstration, acceleration, commercialization, and growth of clean energy technologies is critical to spurring the private investments needed to support the market demands.
- Firms in the grid modernization and energy storage technology category are growing fast and are positioned to grow much more. It was the fastest growing category in terms of employment for 2017 with nearly 12.6% growth.
The report also shows that the rapid growth throughout New York’s clean energy sector is outpacing the supply of skilled energy workers in the state.
“Clean energy jobs are the jobs of the future, and because Governor Cuomo has put the state on a path to lead the nation in clean energy growth, those jobs will be disproportionately created here in New York,” said Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA. “To fuel this rapidly growing industry, it is more important than ever that we make new investments in workforce development and training initiatives that will ensure New Yorkers have every opportunity to join this high-growth field.”
Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said: “This coordinated initiative helps ensure that crucial workforce development and training are in lock-step with the efforts of green industries to create cutting-edge jobs. The Department of Labor is proud to partner with NYSERDA, the SUNY university system, state and regional development officials, and other state agencies to provide innovative funding that builds on the growing field of clean and renewable energy and benefits workers and businesses.”