Building Workforce Capacity in the Green Economy
The economic promise of millions of jobs created by the federal Inflation Reduction Act is expected to increase the demand for workforce training. Presented at the 2022 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, this paper explores successful urban and rural strategies for green job training, using case studies from the District of Columbia and Vermont.
The District’s case study describes a comprehensive workforce development program whose regulators had set energy efficiency performance benchmarks that could be met most effectively with the creation of the program. The Vermont study investigates policy steps to remedy participation barriers to green workforce development, and those policy outcomes. Each jurisdiction has aggressive climate and employment goals. The District plans to double the number of small, local businesses and cut citywide unemployment by 50 percent in persistently unemployed and underemployed populations, by 2032. Vermont has binding climate goals that necessitate a five-fold increase in weatherization workers, in under five years.
Both jurisdictions offer trackable, targeted, workforce development models. By engaging contracting and weatherization industries, the programs provide customizable strategies for effective outreach, recruitment, job placement, mentorship, and retention. Each framework aligns national training and certification with native work classifications. The programs meet participant and employer needs while ensuring high-quality career pathways and the availability of skilled, green workforce professionals.
The frameworks are evolving in response to changes in local policy, and promote contractor engagement and training in industrialized construction and weatherization techniques. The models show how other jurisdictions can build their workforces, remove participation barriers, navigate funding, and incorporate governmental energy and climate initiatives.Download PDF (new tab)