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Lawmakers push Department on Energy on effort to strengthen clean-energy workforce

Rebecca Barnabi
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Four members of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) Climate Jobs Task Force are leading members in calling on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) 21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Board.

The SEEC Climate and Jobs Task Force advocates for pro-worker, pro-climate policies and seeks to promote collaboration between labor and environmental groups. The Task Force wants the DOE to develop a report including robust recommendations to strengthen and diversify the clean-energy workforce.

Member Jennifer McClellan of Virginia and Co-Chairs Nikki Budzinski of Illinois, Mark DeSaulnier of California and Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon are leading Task Force members in the effort.

“We are encouraged to see the series of public meetings held by the 21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Board (EWAB), which was established by Section 40211 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” wrote the lawmakers. “As the EWAB continues to meet and develops a report with actionable recommendations, we write to uplift the following issues that impact our constituents.”

The lawmakers outlined the following priorities:

  • Prioritize workforce strategies that serve underrepresented groups: support apprenticeship and workforce development opportunities for underrepresented populations by increasing capacity building within Tribes, supporting early-career scientists and engineers at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), and equitably distributing workforce development benefits to disadvantaged communities.

  • Address barriers to workforce participation: develop wraparound services to address child care, transportation, and housing challenges that disproportionately prevent women and other historically underrepresented groups from participating in the clean-energy workforce.

  • Bolster worker retraining and technical development in the clean-energy sector: prioritize energy communities and communities impacted by industrial sector closures, relocations, and large-scale layoffs to ensure no community is left behind during the transition.

  • Support prevailing wage standards: provide good-paying job opportunities for workers from all backgrounds to enter the clean-energy workforce.

  • Coordinate with the Department of Labor (DOL) to strengthen skills training: facilitate inter-agency collaboration to identify gaps in training to ensure the energy sector has a skilled, robust workforce.

The letter was signed by SEEC Climate Jobs Task Force Members Christopher Deluzio of Pennsylvania, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott of Virginia and Paul Tonko of New York.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.