Delgado Introduces a Roadmap to Achieve a Clean Energy Workforce, The Green Jobs and Opportunity Act
HUDSON, NY — Today, Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19), along with Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02), announced the introduction of H.R. 4148, the Green Jobs and Opportunity Act, environmental legislation to combat climate change and ensure the labor workforce is ready to transition to a clean energy economy. Today, Rep. Delgado will unveil and discuss this legislation with several local community stakeholders at an event he is hosting at Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson, New York.
“Every day we are presented with harrowing facts about the dramatically changing climate. We have a moral imperative to combat climate change now and bring down carbon emissions to protect our planet for future generations, as well as the obligation to ensure our workforce is prepared for the changing clean energy economy. To fully recognize the economic potential in climate change, we need to understand what a green economy looks like—what jobs exist, how much they pay, and what training is required to fill those roles. Today, I am announcing the Green Jobs and Opportunity Act to give us a roadmap to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and ensure significant investments are made so our current workforce can capitalize on these new, green opportunities in an economy where 100 percent of the energy demand is met with clean, renewable, and net-zero emission sources.” Congressman Delgado continued, “I am very proud to introduce this legislation which brings labor unions, educational institutions, green employers, and environmental advocates together and makes significant investments in targeted programs, including pre-apprenticeship programs, that are crucial to ensuring the U.S. and Upstate New York has a workforce prepared to meet the energy needs of tomorrow. I thank my colleague and co-lead Rep. Mark Pocan, for his partnership on this important legislation.”
“Future generations are relying on us to take bold action on climate change and we need to make sure our workforce is ready to meet that challenge. As the country shifts to a green economy, it’s imperative our workers don’t get left behind. These hard-working men and women are the backbone of our local communities and it’s critical they have the necessary education and training opportunities to transition into good-paying, clean energy jobs. The Green Jobs and Opportunity Act represents the first step in that effort by identifying workforce development opportunities and making real investments in workforce training,” Congressman Pocan said. “Through robust data collection and collaboration between labor unions, industry, advocates, and experts, we can begin to realize the potential of a transition to a clean energy economy.”
Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Director, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and Ulster County Legislator, Chair of the Ulster County Climate Smart and Energy and Environment Committees said, "Congressman Delgado's Green Jobs and Opportunity Act is exactly what is needed to address the global climate crisis by identifying the employment opportunities inherent in the transition to a renewable energy economy, by ensuring that we are prepared to fill them with a trained workforce, and by providing funding to do so. This bill addresses environmental and climate justice and ensures a just transition for displaced workers, so they are not casualties of this needed conversion but are instead its beneficiaries. It is timely and visionary and will benefit both our economy and the environment in a very practical way."
The Citizens’ Climate Lobby in NY-19 said, “We heartily commend Congressman Delgado for sponsoring The Green Jobs and Opportunity Act, which tackles the central crisis of our time—climate change—by addressing the targeted workforce training necessary for transitioning to a clean-energy economy. This bill ensures that relevant training is available for good-paying clean-energy jobs, with an emphasis on workers who have too often been left behind – residents of rural and disadvantaged communities, veterans, and those whose jobs are superseded by new technologies. Thank you, Rep. Delgado!”
“Plug Power is thankful for the opportunity to support Congressman Delgado’s ‘Green Jobs and Opportunity Act.’ We appreciate his efforts to support clean energy jobs, like those provided by the hydrogen and fuel cell sector, in the Capital Region and across the county. The hydrogen and fuel cell industry is creating meaningful green jobs, creating tremendous economic growth opportunities in our Country,” said Andy Marsh, Plug Power’s CEO.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to avoid the most severe impacts of a changing climate, there must be net-zero global emissions by 2050. Rep. Delgado’s legislation starts with the assumption of achieving this critical goal and then requires the U.S. Departments of Labor (DOL) and Energy (DOE) to work backward to project current and future workforce needs and shortages in the energy sector specifically. These reports would be completed quarterly and would include recommendations to ensure the U.S. remains on track with the IPCC’s designated timeline. Importantly, the legislation makes a significant investment—$260 million per year for fiscal years 2020 through 2022—for workforce development for displaced workers. This funding would be distributed as grants to educational institutions and labor organizations, among other entities, to establish flexible training programs to reduce any shortages and skill gaps that the DOL-DOE reports identify.
Rep. Delgado’s legislation also establishes a National Advisory Committee on the Clean Energy Technology Workforce, made up of representatives from labor organizations, employers from clean energy fields, academia, and environmental advocacy groups, tasked with advising DOL and DOE throughout the transition process. In bringing all stakeholders to the table in this way, Rep. Delgado’s bill aims to ensure the current and future workforce is prepared to capitalize on the millions of new jobs that will be created during the transition to a clean energy economy.