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Clean energy jobs will require workforce transition

April 25, 2019

Earth Day has evolved from environmental consciousness raising in its beginnings in the early 1970s to this year’s celebration surrounded with climate change concerns and development of the clean energy industry.  A recent report from the Brookings Institution shows more discussion needs to happen around the types of workers, activities and skills that will be needed in the clean energy industry, and how those efforts can be more inclusive. Transitioning to a clean energy economy will involve 320 unique occupations spread across clean energy production, energy efficiency and environmental management, the authors found. The report highlights the fact that those workers earn higher and more equitable wages compared to all workers nationally, and many of those occupations tend to have lower educational requirements.

The analysis presented in Advancing Inclusion Through Clean Energy Jobs focuses on the workforce side of the clean energy transition and aims to help energy sector professionals, state and local policymakers, regional education and training sector leaders and community organizations have a clearer look at the needs and opportunities associated with the future clean energy workforce.

While the accessibility of clean energy work could attract and employ workers from all backgrounds, the analysis found that current workers tend to be older and male. Barriers to employment for underrepresented populations include a lack of young talent entering the clean energy economy, while employers point to a lack of relevant training, experience and technical skills, in addition to the lack of racial and gender diversity in certain occupations.

The report calls for the development of a clean energy workforce playbook to modernize clean energy related education, improve training, and reach underrepresented workers and students.

energy, jobs, workforce