The University of California, Berkeley has released a report that provides an analysis of how the state of California can improve their clean energy programs in order to meet projected goals. Titled “California Workforce Education and Training Needs Assessment for Energy Efficiency, Demand Response and Distributed Generation,” the project was required under the 2008 California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan and paid for by state utility users under the California Public Utilities Commission.
The study estimates that there will be $11.2 billion worth of public and private investments by 2020 in renewable projects, creating over 200,000 jobs in the state. Not all of those jobs will in the green sector, but those that are will reside primarily in construction, such as electricians, carpenters, and sheet metal workers. The report, however, also found several potential problems that will hinder progress and optimization.
While the study suggests workers will be available for the projected job growth, researchers fear that not enough emphasis is being placed in training programs for residential energy efficiency retrofits. The housing industry, they found, has lower wagers and higher turn over than commercial construction, but is also the focus of major public policy initiatives.
The report concludes that more stringent efficiency certificates for workers should be adopted, as well as greater enforcement for building codes. These two changes, the researches say, will result higher skilled employees who, in turn, receive better pay and have greater job stability. As well, the study finds that education and training should focus on updating traditional occupations to be greener, instead of creating new, short-term programs. The full report can be downloaded on the University’s website.
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