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NYPA Job Training Funds Can Maximize Equity & Efficiency, Labor & Public Power Advocates Say

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2024
Media Contact: Michael Paulson
Phone: 917-690-0520
Email: michael@saneenergy.org

Cornell ILR Climate Jobs Institute & Public Power NY urge NYPA to leverage $25M annual training funds to support programs that build a strong labor pipeline for successful public renewable energy buildout.

NEW YORK, NY — Today the Cornell ILR Climate Jobs Institute & the Public Power NY coalition released a new guidance showing how the New York Power Authority (NYPA) can leverage the $25 million annual training & retraining budget provided by the 2023 Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA) to support a robust and equitable union labor workforce. Last year’s passage of the BPRA provided $25 million per year for workforce training on NYPA’s renewable energy projects, and the new guidance provides NYPA with common sense practices for disbursing these funds to ensure that New York’s energy transition is a just transition that benefits New Yorkers and strengthens our economy. 

The memo recommends three key strategies for supporting a robust, equitable clean energy economy:

  • Dedicate training funds for wraparound services for pre-apprentices and apprentices
  • Prioritize allocating funds to match projected construction timelines
  • Allow for flexibility and worker voice in program design for funded projects

Patrick Robbins, Co-Chair of the Public Power NY Coalition, said: “We are pleased to have worked with the Cornell ILR Climate Jobs Institute on this guidance, and appreciate their deep expertise on renewable energy workforce development. This is a turning point for New York’s energy system, and the more we can ensure that organized labor is at the table in structuring NYPA’s renewable energy programs, the better off all New Yorkers will be.”

To best support a workforce capable of achieving New York’s ambitious clean energy mandate, the authors suggest NYPA fund registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, prioritize collaboration with joint labor-management programs, and coordinate with labor leaders to create multi-year plans forecasting demand. This funding also provides an opportunity to institutionalize a worker voice and trade union representation in the training programs that define New York’s growing clean energy sector. The full recommendations are also available online.

With the passage of the Build Public Renewables Act last year, NYPA has a new legal mandate to fill the gaps in New York’s clean energy mix needed to decarbonize the state by 2040. Given the minimal progress the private market has made in building new clean energy resources — there was actually a decrease by 0.2% of renewables in the state’s energy mix between 2014 and 20221 — as well as recent cancellations of many of the flagship clean energy projects in the state’s pipeline,2 New York must rely on the public sector to meet its climate goals. NYPA’s role in building New York’s clean energy economy will therefore be decisive, and its investments in our renewable energy workforce will set the standard for how working people will benefit from this economy. 

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About the Public Power NY Coalition: The Public Power NY Coalition is a statewide movement of community and advocacy organizations fighting for an environmentally sustainable energy system that’s also racially, socially, and economically just. We believe energy and a habitable planet are human rights, and that we need to avert the climate crisis by eliminating the use of fossil fuels and transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy. We aim to accomplish these goals by taking over our for-profit energy system and bringing it under public, not-for-profit, local, and democratic ownership and management.

For more information please contact us at: info@publicpowerny.org 

See our Website: http://publicpowerny.org/

  1. https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/Project/Nyserda/Files/Programs/Clean-Energy-Standard/CES-2022-annual-r-1-v1-complete-acc.pdf
  2. https://www.politico.com/news/2024/04/24/new-york-offshore-wind-00153556