Governor Hochul Announces $6 Million for Climate Justice Fellowships Benefitting Disadvantaged Communities and Priority Populations
Funding Will Support 150 Fellowships Over Three Years
September 7, 2021
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $6 million is now available over three years to support 150 Climate Justice Fellowship opportunities for individuals across the state currently residing in historically disadvantaged communities or from priority populations. This announcement, in advance of New York's upcoming celebration of Climate Week from September 20 to September 26, helps support New York State's commitment to ensure an equitable clean energy transition for all New Yorkers as required by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
"These fellowships demonstrate how New York is working to foster new and creative ways to support climate justice and clean energy training for individuals in disadvantaged communities while stimulating rewarding career paths for future generations of New Yorkers," Governor Hochul said. "This funding will give New Yorkers from underrepresented backgrounds a fresh opportunity to participate in our economy. It's critical that we focus on creating an inclusive green energy marketplace by capturing the ideas, talent, and expertise of New Yorkers as we work to achieve the state's ambitious climate goals."
The program, administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, is seeking applications from host employers to support the professional development, training, and mentoring of full-time fellows currently residing in disadvantaged communities or from priority populations—including individuals that are low income, disabled, homeless, formerly incarcerated, residents of environmental justice communities, veterans and Native Americans, among others.
Selected fellows will work with community-based organizations, universities, municipalities, climate tech innovators/start-ups, and clean energy businesses to assist with and support community engagement activities, clean energy project development and implementation, partnership building, clean energy start-ups, or other projects that advance climate justice and clean energy priorities in disadvantaged communities.
NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "Those living in historically disadvantaged communities know the needs of their communities best. Our Climate Justice Fellowship program is unique in it allows for individuals to pair up with entities that want to facilitate clean energy and climate justice efforts in the very same communities - creating unique collaborations and helping ensure an equitable green transition in neighborhoods that have traditionally been underserved."
NYSERDA will fund approximately 50 fellowships in 2021 and up to 100 fellowships through 2023, and will work with State and federal agencies, non-profits, foundations, and other partners to leverage existing resources and wrap-around services such as transportation and childcare services, training, and professional development opportunities.
Applications must be submitted by 3 p.m. EST on October 28, 2021. Host employers must apply to the program with a fellow candidate identified. Employers will need to provide an outline of specific activities the fellow will undertake over the 12-month period. The projected timeline for applications is: Fall 2021, Cohort 1; Winter/Spring 2022, Cohort 2; Winter/Spring 2023, Cohort 3.
NYSERDA will conduct an informational webinar on September 16, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. EST to review the solicitation requirements and answer questions. Interested attendees can register by emailing to [email protected] with the subject line "PON 4772 Climate Justice Fellowship" to request further information.
Senator Kevin Parker said, "Addressing climate justice is a key component to achieving the energy goals for our State. I applaud Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for making a commitment to invest in fellows who will work in-house with various organizations on clean energy project development and implementation. This is an important opportunity and will help ensure we reach the targets we set within the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA)."
Senator Jessica Ramos said, "Last week's flash floods were crippling and even fatal, New York's climate infrastructure resilience should have been improved upon yesterday. The Climate Justice Fellowship Program will build leadership across our state to keep us safe. I applaud Governor Hochul for not squandering any more time. Recognition that we must provide low-income people and people of color with the opportunity to work within our own communities to fight climate change can only be the beginning of meaningful investments to protect our communities and end fossil fuel dependency once and for all."
400 Foundation VP and Co-Founder and Historic Emanuel AME Church Pastor Rev. Dr. Kahli C. Mootoo said, "Climate change and air pollution continue to exact an especially painful toll on our community. Green jobs must be a focal point to achieve economic justice and provide New York's Black Community with equitable career opportunities. After 400 years of compounded discrimination, it is time for high quality education and job training opportunities like this. In one fail swoop, the Climate Justice Fellowship will serve to eliminate racial disparities in both career opportunities and community environmental health and safety, and move BIPOC communities closer to equity than ever before."
Adirondack North Country Association Clean Energy Program Director Jerrod Bley, CEM, said, "ANCA is thrilled with Governor Hochul's announcement to roll out the Climate Justice Fellowship program. The Fellowship program allows organizations like ANCA to build on the trust and confidence we have already established with our constituents while providing thoughtful development for the next generation of climate justice professionals. The appropriate response to the biggest challenges facing marginalized populations must come from those communities and we're excited to support our northern New York communities through this opportunity and other NYSERDA programs that address equity and justice as we transition to a clean energy future."
Funding for the Climate Justice Fellowship Program is provided through the Clean Energy Fund, as well as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and is part of a nearly $120 million commitment by NYSERDA to support existing workforce development and training initiatives, which will help train and prepare over 40,000 New Yorkers for growing clean energy job opportunities and assist clean energy businesses in recruiting, hiring, and training workers. The Climate Justice Fellowship program also builds on NYSERDA's related efforts to prepare the next generation of clean energy workers by funding internships and on-the-job training for individuals looking to join the clean energy industry. NYSERDA is providing $9.5 million to support the New York State Clean Energy Internship Program and has supported 922 internships to date, while also providing $13.5 million for on-the-job training for energy efficiency and clean technology and has trained 675 individuals—many from disadvantaged communities and priority populations across the State.
For more information about NYSERDA's clean energy workforce development and training programs.
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State'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 achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission 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 investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $21 billion in 91 large-scale renewable projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2019, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, 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 are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.
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