Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced the Career Pathway Training Partnerships program in high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and electric heat pump technologies to prepare New Yorkers for the growing number of job opportunities in the clean energy industry. The partnerships will target training over 1,000 workers and prioritize the state's most underserved populations, including low-income New Yorkers and those residing in environmental justice communities, helping support the state's economic recovery.
This announcement also supports Cuomo's nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda as part of "Workforce Development Awareness Week" and advances New York's progress for a carbon-neutral economy as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
"Growing the clean energy economy will be a critical factor in New York's efforts to build back better and combat climate change," Cuomo said. "These investments and partnerships will help us increase the number of skilled workers to meet the sector's growing demands, while ensuring underserved communities are directly benefitting from and participating in our efforts to make buildings healthier and more efficient through innovative clean energy solutions."
"Our state's historic Workforce Development Initiative is about making sure career success is accessible and inclusive for all New Yorkers," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "As we build back better, these investments in job training and career placement will be critical to helping thousands of New Yorkers fill the clean energy jobs that will create a cleaner and greener post-pandemic future for New York."
A press release said, “The clean energy industry has proven to be a strong economic driver, outpacing growth in the national workforce by nearly twice the rate pre-COVID, and will have a pivotal role in creating short and long-term economic activity to help local economies rebound from the pandemic. With energy used for heating and cooling buildings accounting for 37% of net energy consumption and 32% of all fossil fuel-based greenhouse gas emissions in New York state, widespread adoption of clean heating and cooling technologies is critical to achieving the state's climate law and its directive to reach a climate-neutral economy by 2050.
“Despite the growing demand for clean energy services across the state, many HVAC installers, boiler operators and other skilled clean energy trades workers are scheduled to retire over the next 10 years. This shrinking building trades workforce, coupled with the difficulty many HVAC companies already have filling current job openings, is resulting in a growing HVAC workforce gap and an increasing need for training the next generation of skilled and talented contractors to fill these roles.”
The announcement of $8.5 million in investments for workforce training also supports Cuomo's Climate Week actions to cut hydrofluorocarbons, a potent greenhouse gas used in refrigerants, as part of new regulations coupled with the $3 million Next Generation HAVC Innovation Challenge to develop and scale environmentally friendly refrigerants without HFCs.
Acting President and CEO NYSERDA Doreen M. Harris said, "These investments in the workforce of the future will support training providers in their efforts to attract and train workers in energy efficiency and connect them with careers and real work experience leading to job placement in well-paying energy efficiency careers. As NYSERDA continues to work toward Gov. Cuomo's nation-leading climate and energy goals, we recognize the importance of a partnership like this one with CUNY in helping to upskill the workforce of the 21st century for growing careers in the green economy."
Administered by NYSERDA as part of Cuomo's Workforce Development Initiative, the career training partnerships program seeks training providers to deliver hands-on, entry-level technical training programs that attract and develop an HVAC talent pool from high school students, out-of-school youth, and unemployed or underemployed adults, and will help to meet HVAC businesses' need for workers.
This opportunity is aimed toward organizations that either offer high-efficiency HVAC training coursework leading directly to job placement or to more advanced technical training, certification or degrees; offer existing training programs and those expanding into heat pump technologies and focused on priority populations; and that are committed to establishing partnerships with businesses that will offer on-the-job training, internships and apprenticeships.
Under this competitive solicitation, NYSERDA will provide awards up to $550,000 to selected training providers. Providers seeking the maximum funding amount are required to train a minimum of 50-60 students with at least 80% of those trained placed in a job, internship or apprenticeship. In addition, proposers are required to have at least 50% of their program trainees be from a priority population including: veterans, Native Americans, individuals with disabilities, low-income individuals, displaced power plant workers, the formerly incarcerated, and New Yorkers residing in environmental justice and disadvantaged communities. Awards will be made in coordination with the governor's Office of Workforce Development and the Workforce Development Initiative partner agencies, SUNY, CUNY, NYS DOL, and ESD.
To date, NYSERDA's workforce development programs have supported 24 projects designed to build new training capacity, and through these, over 7,000 new and existing workers will be trained, prioritizing electrification and energy efficiency.
Cuomo's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York state recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieving its mandated goal of a zero-carbon emissions electricity sector by 2040, including 70% renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economywide carbon neutrality.
To learn more about NYSERDA's programs and funding opportunities, visit nyserda.ny.gov.