New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced yesterday the Career Pathway Training Partnerships program, a new initiative that will train workers in high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning and electric heat pump technologies. The program will target training over 1,000 workers and prioritize low-income New Yorkers and those residing in environmental justice communities, helping support the state’s economic recovery.
The clean energy industry is a strong economic driver, outpacing growth in the national workforce by nearly twice the rate pre-COVID and will aid in creating economic activity post-COVID as well, said Cuomo. With energy used for heating and cooling buildings accounting for 37 percent of net energy consumption and 32 percent of all fossil fuel-based greenhouse gas emissions in New York State, widespread adoption of clean heating and cooling technologies is critical to achieving the state’s climate law its goal of a climate-neutral economy by 2050.
However, many HVAC installers, boiler operators and other skilled clean energy trades workers are scheduled to retire over the next ten years, resulting in a workforce gap and increasing the need for training the next generation of contractors to fill these roles.
Today’s announcement of $8.5 million in investments for workforce training also supports Governor Cuomo’s Climate Week actions to cut hydroflourocarbons, a greenhouse gas used in refrigerants, as part of new regulations coupled with the $3 million Next Generation HAVC Innovation Challenge to develop and scale environmentally friendly refrigerants without HFCs.
Training providers needed
Administered by NYSERDA, the Career Training Partnerships program seeks training providers to deliver hands-on, entry-level technical training programs that attract and develop an HVAC talent pool from high school students, out-of-school youth and unemployed or underemployed adults.
NYSERDA will provide awards up to $550,000 to selected training providers, who will be required to train a minimum of 50-60 students with at least 80 percent of those trained placed in a job, internship or apprenticeship.
Proposers are also required to have at least 50 percent of their program trainees be from a priority population including veterans, Native Americans, individuals with disabilities, low income individuals, displaced power plant workers, the formerly incarcerated, and New Yorkers residing in environmental justice and disadvantaged communities.
An agreement between NYSERDA and the City College of New York to implement a permanent energy efficiency workforce development training program for West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. was also announced. Under the program, CCNY will help train up to 10 long-term training specialists in energy efficiency technology, real-time diagnostic and usage analytics, and performance optimization for all mechanical and engineering systems in use at WHGA’s buildings throughout New York City. Once fully operational, CCNY’s new program is expected to result in energy efficiency training for 250 WHGA’s employees, partners and tenants.
NYSERDA is providing over $230,000 to CUNY for the program.