May 21, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces $11.6 Million to Develop Clean Energy Industry Workforce

Governor Hochul Announces $11.6 Million to Develop Clean Energy Industry Workforce

New York Power Authority Commitment Supports Job Skills Training, Apprenticeships and Workforce Programming to Prepare New Yorkers for Employment in New York’s Expanding Clean Energy Economy

Say Yes Buffalo to Engage High School Graduates in Clean Energy Careers

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $11.6 million in funding to support clean energy industry workforce development initiatives in New York State. The funding, which was approved by the New York Power Authority Board of Trustees today, stems from a NYPA commitment in the 2023-24 Enacted State Budget and will largely support the efforts of the state Office of Just Energy Transition (OJET), which was established within the New York State Department of Labor last year to connect workers to opportunities for jobs in the clean energy economy through up-skilling and training with a focus on serving those who are traditionally underrepresented, especially within disadvantaged communities.

“As we develop a clean energy economy in New York State, we're ensuring that we have a workforce ready and able to fill the needed jobs of tomorrow,” Governor Hochul said. “This funding will support critical programs for New Yorkers looking to develop skills in the emerging energy sector so that everyone can participate in our green energy future.”

Four new workforce training programs will be launched with this initial funding: two administered through NYSDOL and two administered by NYPA. The programs will incorporate wraparound services that include assistance with transportation, childcare, stable housing, food and other support. Wraparound services are essential to overcome obstacles that make it difficult for participants to attend and successfully complete such programs.

NYPA and NYSDOL will collaborate on programs related to workforce training, retraining and apprenticeships related to preparing workers for employment and work in the renewable energy field, as well as programs to train or retrain utility workers.

In this first tranche of spending, NYPA will provide NYSDOL with $5 million to expand or create clean energy training programs and pre-apprenticeship opportunities and provide wraparound services for individuals participating in them. Projects supported must provide training or pre-apprenticeship programs in building electrification, renewable energy, electric vehicle charging, or energy intensive industries. To learn more, visit the OJET webpage.

NYSDOL also will receive $4 million to create opportunities for local workforce development boards to support transitioning and residential workers. The funds will support transitioning workers in either up-skilling or re-skilling for the renewable energy field from fossil fuel jobs, as well as provide residential worker support in the areas of weatherization and building performance. The funds will include wrap around services that will aid with childcare, transportation, housing stability, food, mental health services, substance use treatment and life-skills training.

In addition, the Power Authority, as part of its workforce development priorities, has plans to invest $2.6 million to launch two workforce development initiatives.

With the first initiative, NYPA will collaborate with training providers to develop technical training opportunities, hands-on experience, paid internships and full-time jobs for people entering the workforce and advance training opportunities for those traditional utility workers to ensure that both new and current employees have the requisite skills and qualifications to participate in New York’s clean energy field. The first phase of the initiative, which will cost $2 million, will be regionally focused, providing employment training and employment opportunities for residents in disadvantaged communities located in the vicinity of NYPA power projects. NYPA will issue an RFP to seek potential partnership opportunities with interested parties.

The second NYPA workforce development initiative will be in collaboration with the Say Yes Buffalo. NYPA will be providing $600,000 to the firm’s Youth Apprenticeship Program, which will place recent public high school graduates in one-to-three-year structured work-based learning apprenticeships at committed industry partners in high demand sectors. It combines paid on-the-job learning, professional mentorship and aligned educational training and credentialing to ensure historically underserved youth have equitable access to and retention in secure, mid-wage, mid-skill jobs with room to grow. The expectation is that this program will grow to serve as many as 200 high school students as it matures.

NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel said, “We at the Power Authority understand that our clean energy transition needs to put more New Yorkers to work. This more than $11 million in funding is an investment in the state’s workforce so that more New Yorkers—especially those from disadvantaged communities—will have opportunity and access to training for the jobs we’ll rely on to build the power grid of the future.”

NYPA President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “Preparing the state’s workforce for the growing renewable energy field is a critical step in transitioning to a clean energy economy in New York. We are eager to collaborate with the Department of Labor and local and regional communities to develop workforce training programs that will qualify New Yorkers, especially those in disadvantaged communities, to work in the renewable energy field. Together we will fill gaps in the labor market with new energy industry workers that will help us meet the long-term electricity needs of New York consumers and businesses for decades to come.”

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner and Climate Action Council Member Roberta Reardon said, “Workforce development remains a high priority to Governor Hochul’s strategic plan to expand New York State’s clean energy economy. This funding will provide New Yorkers with the skills they need to be successful in jobs that are paving the way for an environmentally responsible future for our great state.”

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “I applaud NYPA and DOL for initiating their innovative and forward-thinking strategy to prepare tomorrow's workforce today. Utilizing $11 million will allow for the mobilization, training, apprenticeship and workforce development of regional workforces, including a focus on disadvantaged young adults, to prepare them for careers in New York's emerging clean energy sector. I'm thrilled to see the involvement of Say Yes Buffalo and look forward to seeing the pipeline creation for participants being connected to family-sustaining careers.”

Say Yes Buffalo CEO David Rust said, “We are extremely grateful to Governor Hochul and the New York Power Authority for this investment in good jobs for students in the region. This investment will provide students the opportunity to earn apprenticeships in business operations, advanced manufacturing, information technology, and the culinary field, ultimately leading to jobs with starting salaries between $45,000 and $65,000 at completion at Buffalo private sector employers. Access to good paying jobs is critical for the long-term health and vitality in the region, and we are happy to partner with New York State on this critical workforce initiative.”

Each of the initiatives advance the Power Authority’s and New York State’s goals of supporting workforce training and retraining to prepare workers for employment in renewable energy fields, and provide benefits to residents of disadvantaged communities, including communities in the vicinity of the Power Authority’s power projects. NYPA has extensive experience providing training to workers in energy-related fields and working with organized labor to help implement training programs for current and future employees.

NYSDOL oversees hundreds of millions of dollars annually and has extensive experience connecting hundreds of thousands of people annually to job training, supportive services, job search and career development services and ultimately to employment.

In addition to its new workforce training commitments, the 2023-24 Enacted State Budget provided NYPA with enhanced authority to plan, design, develop, finance, construct, own, operate, maintain and improve renewable energy generation and storage projects—either alone or in collaboration with other entities—to help support the state's renewable energy goals in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, maintain an adequate and reliable supply of electric power and energy in the state, and support the new REACH program, which will enable low-income and moderate-income electricity customers to receive bill credits through the production of renewable energy by NYPA. NYPA will publish its first biennial strategic plan for renewable energy development in January 2025.

To learn more about opportunities for clean energy jobs, up-skilling and training in your community, join the Office of Just Energy Transition’s email list by signing up on OJET’s webpage.

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 economy-wide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $50 billion in 66 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 170,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2022 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 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.

About NYPA

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information visit  www.nypa.gov  and follow us on  Twitter,  Facebook,  Instagram,  Tumblr  and  LinkedIn.

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