Green Collar Jobs: Making a Living, Forging a Better World

September 16th, 2020

Take action
New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), adopted in 2019, set the stage for a just transition to a fossil-free economy in our state. It will take more work on many fronts to make this a reality, including fighting for massive investments in green jobs and supporting organizations that stand ready to educate and train a green workforce.

    • Volunteer with NY Renews, the driving force behind the CLCPA. This coalition of over 200 environmental, justice, faith, labor and community groups is demanding a massive state investment in climate, jobs and justice, with fossil fuel companies footing much of the bill. Check out their action toolkit here.
    • Sign this petition telling Governor Cuomo we need a Climate Justice Recovery from COVID-19 in our state, investing in hundreds of thousands of good paying green jobs so we can build healthy homes, renewable infrastructure and resilient communities, with a focus on communities hit hardest by climate change and the pandemic.
    • Solar One engages and educates New Yorkers to change how people think about energy, sustainability and resilience. Sign up for the Solar One newsletter to learn more about their work and their educational programming.
    • Green City Force (GCF) trains young leaders to power a green and inclusive economy through service. It needs help readying its farms at NYCHA sites. NYCHA residents and non-NYCHA volunteers are welcome. Sign up here to get in
    • Check out UPROSE’s proposal for the GRID. The GRID (Green Resilient Industrial District) is a visionary planning proposal to achieve a just transition for Sunset Park, creating green jobs and other benefits to the local community. UPROSE is a longstanding Brooklyn community organization, led by women of color, which promotes sustainability and resiliency in Sunset Park. Volunteer with UPROSE
    • Sign this petition to call on Congress for the next stimulus bill to include clean energy & green job funding.

Making NYC buildings climate friendly
In New York City, buildings account for two-thirds of carbon emissions. Too many are poorly insulated and use dirty, inefficient technology for heating and cooling. To retrofit the city’s buildings to reduce emissions, we’ll need a well-trained workforce right here in NYC.

In 2019 the City Council passed a law (Local Law 97) placing carbon caps on large buildings.
The Urban Green Council is helping to meet the large-scale challenge of making one million-plus NYC buildings energy efficient and moving them off of fossil fuels. Read here about its initiatives to Bring the Retrofit Market to Scale.

Training and internships
There are many paths to a green job. Here are just a few places to begin exploring.

    •       Young people can apply through the New York State Clean Energy Internship Program for paid internships in companies with green missions ranging from energy efficiency to alternative transportation to wind.
    •       Are you an 18-24 year-old NYCHA resident interested in becoming a sustainability leader? Click here to apply to GCF’s Service Corps.
    • NYSERDA (the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) provides a list of options for online training and education: Directory of Free Online Clean Energy Training Resource
    •     NYC 2030 District, a private/public partnership of property owners and community stakeholders, offers workforce training in green heating and cooling technology. They have some upcoming classes to sign up for this fall, and their past modules are available for free viewing online.
    •       Urban Green Council offers education for architects, engineers, building managers and other professionals on best practices for creating and maintaining sustainable buildings.
    •       Farm School NYC trains local residents in urban agriculture in order to build self-reliant communities and inspire positive local action around food access. They offer training in areas ranging from urban planting techniques to food justice to planning and design.
    •     The U.S. Department of Energy provides tools for identifying many different types of renewable energy jobs:
    • Wind Energy Career Map
    •   Bio Fuels Career Map
    •   Solar Career Map
    •   Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Career Map

The big picture

Inventory of carbon emissions in NYC (From the Mayor’s office.)

2019 New York Clean Energy Report: Analyzes data on clean energy jobs and employer needs in New York State’s clean energy sector. (From NYSERDA.)

New York State and the Jobs of Offshore Wind Energy: Explores skills and occupations required to take an offshore wind power plant from an idea, through development and construction, to spinning turbines generating electricity. (From the Workforce Development Institute.)

Reversing Inequality, Combatting Climate Change: A Climate Change Jobs Program for New York State:  “By adopting a climate jobs agenda, New York can lead the country and chart the way to a low-carbon, equitable economy.” (From The Worker Institute at Cornell.)

National Solar Jobs Census 2019: Reports on size and scope of America’s solar workforce and analyzes trends in the solar labor market (From The Solar Foundation.)

Clean Jobs America 2020: Repowering America’s Economy in the Wake of COVID-19: “Details the sheer size of this important employment sector, the troubles it is currently facing due to COVID-19 and how focusing recovery policies on clean energy can get America’s economy humming again—quickly and for the long run.” (From the business group E2, Environmental Entrepreneurs.)

Greentech Media, US Solar Market Performed Better Than Expected During Pandemic’s Worst Months

E4TheFuture, Clean Energy Jobs: August 2020 Brings Anemic Growth, Worrisome Trend

Everett, M. (2007) Making a Living While Making a Difference

Jones, V. (2008) Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems