WORKFORCE AS A CLIMATE SOLUTION
As the world transitions to a clean energy system, we must position workforce development as a solution. This removes the stakes of a zero-sum game. Addressing the local workforce’s challenges will help create opportunity and well-being for all communities and accelerate the transition to renewable energy.
Even if the grid was 100% renewable today, our infrastructure is not yet set up to receive it. The decade ahead will bring a massive workforce and infrastructure transition. According to the World Economic Forum, the transition to clean energy is expected to generate 10.3 million new jobs by 2030. In Colorado, our solar providers are facing a massive workforce shortage and cannot hire quickly enough to keep up with demand. This trend is not unique to Colorado—it is appearing across the country.
The Coalition is working to grow the ecosystem for green careers in solar, geothermal, wind, energy efficiency, zero emission vehicles (ZEV), electric charging infrastructure and regenerative agriculture. These efforts are centered in equity and human dignity. The program supports adults and youth, rural, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, women, and veteran communities in navigating the credentialing pathways and setting folks up for meaningful jobs that can build a durable, impactful and successful career.
This project is creating measurable support for existing employees within the solar sector through two employee resource groups (ERGs). The ERGs support marginalized communities through leadership, networking and professional development to make policy recommendations on a company or industry wide scale. ERGs are an emerging best practice in much of the business world as a way to address lack of power or support for traditionally marginalized groups and create a vehicle for them to give feedback around equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policies heard by the C-Suite. These ERGs will offer a chance for employees within the solar sector in Colorado to participate in a first-of-its-kind ERG that can bridge the geographic gap and the small-to-large business size difference of the sector. They will improve retention and EDI within the industry as well as offer opportunities to recruit for talent.
The Coalition is working to align talent pools, labor organizations, school districts, trainers and employers to make a more efficient pathway for those wanting to enter the renewable energy sector. The work also equips employers with the training needed to create quality jobs, a supportive workplace that values diverse backgrounds and the ability to promote career building opportunities to new and different audiences while supporting and nurturing their current workforce. The vision is for every Coloradan to have an opportunity to pursue these fast-growing careers to help accelerate the energy transition in Colorado and beyond.
The Coalition is working with the Denver Economic Development Opportunity and the Office of Climate Action Sustainability and Resiliency teams to stand up ZEV training programs around the city. While the City and County of Denver lead the way, key lessons and frameworks will be exported to stand up similar programs to key stakeholder communities around Colorado to ensure that there is the workforce to operate and maintain electrified fleets and personal vehicles.
The Coalition is working to build a communications campaign to uplift the skilled trades, with a focus on electricians and green career pathways. The campaign will take a multi-generational and holistic approach that considers climate and family when communicating wages, trainings and advancement opportunities.
The Coalition’s Workforce Development Group is continually working to develop the infrastructure to increase employment in clean energy and regenerative agriculture. The group meets on Thursday every four weeks. Join The Coalition today to be part of this important work!