A National Model for Making Green Jobs Real
New Report Highlights Los Angeles Jobs Program as State Lawmakers Plan for Use of $2.5 billion in Energy Efficiency Funds
A recent UC Berkeley report examines the success of the Utility Pre-Craft Trainee program, which RePower LA helped create with LADWP and IBEW Local 18. In an article published today, one of the study’s authors holds up the program as an excellent model for California legislators currently deciding how to spend $2.5 billion slated for energy efficiency and clean energy investments.
The funds are the result of Prop. 39, passed by voters in November. Investment in reducing carbon emissions continues to be a hot area of economic development nationally. The study, by Carol Zabin and Ellen Avis of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, offers guidance for the next generation of green job programs that are tied to investments in energy efficiency.
“So many groups around the country are investing in job training and clean energy energy programs right now, putting millions of dollars and thousands of jobs on the line. The governments, utilities, unions, and others investing in these green jobs programs can learn a lot by looking to a model like the Utility Pre-Craft Trainee program,” explains Carol Zabin, who chairs the Donald Vial Center on Employment in the Green Economy at UC Berkeley.
Training for the Future: Workforce Development for a 21st Century Utility evaluates our innovative training program at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The Utility Pre-Craft Trainee program was developed by LADWP with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 18 and involvement from community and environmental advocates. The program trains new workers for long-term careers in the utility industry, while initially putting them to work improving the energy efficiency of homes, businesses, and schools.
“LADWP and IBEW Local 18 recognize that today’s green tech jobs are updated versions of older, traditional jobs in the building trades,” Zabin points out. “As a result, the program prepares trainees for the energy efficiency work at hand, but also helps them become well-rounded workers who can be the utilities’ next generation of workers.”
The authors cite a few lessons from the Utility Pre-Craft Trainee program, which received its seed funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: participants receive on-the-job training so they are able to support themselves and their families, the training is connected to real career opportunities at the Department of Water and Power, where there is a need for new workers, and the program is strongly supported by the employer and the union. Another key strength has been the involvement of stakeholder groups brought together through the RePower LA coalition. Community and environmental advocates have helped shape and implement the program, making sure that the impact is as great as possible and benefits low-income communities of color through job opportunities and energy efficiency retrofits.