Through the Local Government Lens: Developing the Energy Efficiency Workforce, is a report released on June 13 by the American Council for an Energy- Efficient Economy (ACEEE). It cites data from the 2018 U.S. Energy & Employment Report, which reported that there are 2.25 million efficiency jobs in the U.S. currently – 1.27 million of which are in the construction trades, followed by 450,000 in professional and business services. The report dives more deeply into the demographics and characteristics of the energy efficiency workforce, and discusses the unique challenges of workforce development policies – the need to replace a retiring workforce, funding uncertainty for job creation and infrastructure, a need to encourage diversity, and a complex set of stakeholders, given that there is no single educational or skills path for efficiency workers. The report includes unions and union-led training in its discussion of stakeholders and in its recommended strategies for workforce development policies.
Case studies with various approaches are presented from across the U.S., with the sole Canadian example of Vancouver, B.C. For example: Boston, where training in energy building management is provided to city and utility workers at local community colleges; New Orleans, where the city coordinates with U.S. Green Building Council, local community colleges, the New Orleans Office of Supplier Diversity, and the Urban League of Louisiana to provide efficiency-related training to low-income community members and minority- and women-owned businesses; and Los Angeles, which has established a Cleantech Incubator to attract new businesses and private-sector investment to the city. Other U.S. cities discussed are New York City, Orlando Florida, and Columbus Ohio.
Vancouver, B.C. launched several initiatives to teach skills required to build in accordance with its Zero Emissions Building Plan, approved in 2016. The city plans to subsidize training for builders and developers to learn more about passive house design standards, technical building requirements, economic and energy impacts, and energy modeling tools. Vancouver will also contribute funds to the Zero Emissions Building Centre of Excellence, a nonprofit-run collaborative platform that will compile and disseminate zero-emission building educational resources to the local building industry.