California is doing a lot to build a green economy, that’s undeniable. There’s a renewable portfolio standard calling for 20 percent renewables by the end of 2013, 25 percent by the end of 2016 and 33 percent by the end of 2020. There’s also Governor Jerry Brown’s push for 12,000 megawatts of distributed solar by 2020. Still, in a new report, an environmental advocacy group is suggesting the state needs to do even more to make sure the 15,000 people enrolling in green job training programs every year are going to be able to find work.
“To ensure continued growth of the clean energy economy and to fulfill the promise of new job opportunities for those graduating from these green training programs, California must maintain its commitment to big, bold clean energy policies,” the group Environment California said. “Specifically California should establish a strong set of rules for cleaning up cars between 2017 and 2025, fully implementing policies needed to achieve Governor Brown’s vision of building 12 gigawatts of distributed energy resources (e.g. rooftop solar) by 2020 and subsequently moving beyond the state’s 33 percent renewable energy mandate by 2020.”
According to the Environment California report, some 15,000 students are enrolled in 300 green job training programs across 130 California institutions each year, and more than 500,000 people are currently employed in green jobs in the state. The number of jobs in the energy efficiency field are expected to at least double by 2020 – but it won’t happen if it rests on its laurels, advocates said.
“Right now, the students and the teachers are out ahead of the policy makers who are driving the market for green jobs,” said Nicole Capretz, director of Green Energy/Green Jobs Campaign, which works to promote the creation of quality green jobs as part of the Environmental Health Coalition.“We need to rapidly expand the market for clean energy through strong policies so that we can put these tens of thousands of skilled workers to work.”