Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the introduction of the Career Pathway Training Partnerships programme, which will cover high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and electric heat pump technologies. The state has allocated US$8.5m (£6.6m) for the training.
"Growing the clean energy economy will be a critical factor in New York's efforts to build back better and combat climate change," said Cuomo. "These investments and partnerships will help us increase the number of skilled workers to meet the sector's growing demands, while ensuring underserved communities are directly benefitting from and participating in our efforts to make buildings healthier and more efficient through innovative clean energy solutions.”
Lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul said: “Our state's historic Workforce Development Initiative is about making sure career success is accessible and inclusive for all New Yorkers. As we build back better, these investments in job training and career placement will be critical to helping thousands of New Yorkers fill the clean energy jobs that will create a cleaner and greener post-pandemic future for New York."
The clean energy industry is seen by the governor’s team as having a pivotal role in creating short and long-term economic activity to help local economies rebound from the pandemic. Energy used for heating and cooling buildings accounts for 37 percent of net energy consumption and 32 percent of all fossil fuel-based greenhouse gas emissions in New York State. The widespread adoption of clean heating and cooling technologies is therefore regarded as critical to achieving the state's directive to reach a climate-neutral economy by 2050.
Despite the growing demand for clean energy services across the state, many HVAC installers, boiler operators and other skilled clean energy trades workers are scheduled to retire over the next ten years, the state has found. This shrinking building trades workforce, coupled with the difficulty many HVAC companies already have filling current job openings, is resulting in a growing HVAC workforce gap and an increasing need for training the next generation of skilled and talented contractors to fill these roles, said the announcement.
The Career Training Partnerships initiative is aiming for training providers to deliver hands-on, entry-level technical training programmes that attract and develop an HVAC talent pool from high school students, out-of-school youth, and unemployed or underemployed adults.
Under a competitive solicitation, New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) will provide awards up to US$550,000 to selected training providers. Providers seeking the maximum funding amount are required to train a minimum of 50-60 students with at least 80 percent of those trained placed in a job, internship or apprenticeship.