New York State (NYSERDA) Clean Energy Workforce Development Program
New York State’s Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) developed the Clean Energy Workforce Development Program, committing more than $100 million through 2025 to converting the State’s workforce to a cleaner, more resilient future. Working with partners across the State - including small businesses, local governments, frontline community leaders, and more - NYSERDA is focusing on funding five programs in the clean energy sector, including: (1) training in energy efficiency and clean technology; (2) on the job/site training; (3) providing internships to young adults; (4) offering training on building operations and maintenance; and (5) funding contractors that provide clean energy training. With all of these programs, NYSERDA gives preference to members of priority populations – which includes veterans, Native Americans, individuals with disabilities, those coming from low-income households, unemployed power plant workers, and the previously incarcerated.
The funding focus area of energy efficiency and clean technology training was created to help organizations and businesses across the State that work to provide employees with training in the clean energy sector. The purpose of the funding is to facilitate the development and continuation of these training programs, which help to ensure that workers have the experience and knowledge necessary to be successful in the clean energy field, while providing job preparation and job placement assistance. Eligible organizations include unions, colleges and universities, trade associations, community-based organizations, technical schools, and those businesses that run training and job placement programs.
On the job site training, another core focus of the Program, provides wage subsidies for contractors and eligible businesses that employ and train new workers in energy efficiency careers, in an effort to reduce the financial risk of hiring and training. Companies eligible for wage subsidies must provide services in the clean energy area, which include, but are not limited to: smart grid development and deployment, energy storage work, and solar electric installation. Additional incentives are provided in instances where the new hires come from priority populations.
NYSERDA’s internship program provides funding and incentives for businesses working in clean energy to hire students and younger individuals from priority populations. Students participating in the Clean Energy Internship Program will gain hands-on experience working with companies “with green missions that range from energy efficiency to alternative transportation to wind.” Participating businesses benefit from the Program through partial funding of interns’ salaries, and gain access to NYSERDA’s database of eligible, qualified interns interested in the clean energy field.
Building operations and maintenance are some of the critical elements to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions throughout the State. To facilitate growth in the field, NYSERDA’s Building Operations and Maintenance Program was created to provide funding to businesses and contractors that “develop training projects that create the educational strategy, on-site training framework, and tools needed to advance the skills of building operations and maintenance workers and prepare new workers beyond conventional classroom training.” Projects eligible for funding under this Program area include curriculum development, mentorships, apprenticeships, and career pathways training.
Lastly, NYSERDA’s funding for Clean Energy Training Services helps to further the Agency’s goal of “establish[ing] a pool of contractors qualified to deliver training, develop curriculum and/or training tools, and provide market expertise and/or other services related to clean energy workforce development and training.” Contractors receiving this type of funding will help facilitate the development of a clean energy workforce within the State, and in practice. Eligible contractors usually have experience in the development of renewable energy power generation, implementing alternative transportation programs, and reaching underserved populations that often experience barriers to accessing careers in the clean energy sector, among other areas.
The funding and programs offered by NYSERDA under the Clean Energy Workforce Development Program often overlap. In many instances, individuals or businesses applying for financing from NYSERDA may be eligible for several of the programs offered. As a whole, NYSERDA’s Clean Workforce Development works to expand the clean energy sector by facilitating training programs and subsidizing the salaries of those looking to enter the field. The Program has also established a talent pipeline that can help businesses reduce the cost associated with finding and hiring new workers. Additionally, projects and programs facilitated through NYSERDA funding work to connect those living in communities with environmental justice concerns with careers in green energy.
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