Governor Cuomo Announces Initiative to Train Over 1,000 Workers to Install Green Building Technologies to Combat Climate Change

"Workforce Development Awareness Week" Announcement Includes New NYSERDA and City College of New York Workforce Development Initiative Partnership

September 29, 2020

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today 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. Today's announcement also supports Governor 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," Governor 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," Lieutenant Governor 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." 

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 percent of net energy consumption and 32 percent 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 ten 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. 

Today's announcement of $8.5 million in investments for workforce training also supports Governor Cuomo's Climate Week actions to cut hydroflourocarbons, 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 Governor 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 Governor Cuomo's historic 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 percent of those trained placed in a job, internship or apprenticeship. In addition, proposers are required to have at least 50 percent 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.

Also announced today was an agreement between NYSERDA and the City College of New York to implement a permanent energy efficiency workforce development training program for West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. Under the program, CCNY will help train up to 10 long-term training specialists in energy efficiency technology, real-time diagnostic and usage analytics, and performance optimization for all mechanical and engineering systems in use at WHGA's buildings throughout New York City. Once fully operational, CCNY's new program is expected to result in energy efficiency training for 250 WHGA's employees, partners and tenants. As a result of this training, more than 70 multifamily buildings in WHGA's portfolio are expected to benefit by saving up to 15 percent in annual energy costs.  

The City College of New York President Dr. Vincent Boudreau said, "The City College of New York is excited to be working with NYSERDA.  We're thrilled at the opportunity to work side-by-side with NYSERDA to develop a workforce that can support Governor Cuomo's climate and clean energy agenda.  This is a great platform from which to begin a new era of partnership."

NYSERDA is providing over $230,000 for this CUNY effort through its Building Operations and Maintenance Workforce Development Training Program, which is funded through the Governor's million Workforce Development Initiative, and coordinated with the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils. This program helps employers and building owners 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. The workers trained through CUNY's program are expected to move into permanent energy specialist jobs or work with architecture and engineering firms, boutique energy services consultancy firms, or with the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services / Division of Energy Management.

Additionally, NYSERDA and 32 BJ Training Fund are working on several ongoing initiatives that have trained hundreds of their members on building and operations best practices and like City College, 32 BJ's training has focused on multifamily buildings, increasing energy efficiency, and improving the comfort of this important housing stock. 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. 

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
Governor 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 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including a $3.9 billion investment in 67 large-scale renewable projects across the state, the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector, a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035, and 1,800 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011.

Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments benefit disadvantaged communities, and advancing progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 TBtus.

About NYSERDA
NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn more about NYSERDA's programs and funding opportunities, visit nyserda.ny.gov or follow us on Twitter.

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