Program to Assist Low-Income and Unemployed Train for Green Collar Jobs
New Website – GreenCareersNY.com – to Match Job Seekers with Green Training Opportunities
This week, Governor David A. Paterson signed the Green Jobs/Green New York Act, establishing a program that will create green jobs and stimulate investment in weatherization and energy efficiency improvements for residential and commercial buildings. Governor Paterson held the signing ceremony at the New York State Weatherization Directors Association training center in North Syracuse, where New Yorkers are being trained to weatherize and retrofit homes.
“The workforce training that this bill supports will prepare New Yorkers to find jobs in the 21st century clean energy economy that we are building here in New York. I am proud to sign into law the Green Jobs/Green New York Act, so we can help New Yorkers secure jobs that help working families and businesses cut their energy bills while reducing greenhouse gas pollution,” said Governor Paterson. “I have laid out a New Economy jobs plan that will help to put New Yorkers back to work through innovation and technology, and have set a goal to meet 45 percent of our electricity needs through energy efficiency and renewables by 2015. The Green Jobs/Green New York Act is an important tool in achieving these energy and economic goals.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: “Thanks to the Green Jobs/Green New York legislation, homeowners, small business owners, and not-for-profit agencies are encouraged to undertake the energy efficiency projects that will reduce utility bills as well as greenhouse gas emissions. As homes and facilities are retrofitted, and green jobs are created, this program will become a much-need boost for struggling local economies throughout New York State.”
Senator Darrel J. Aubertine, Chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, said: “I want to thank the Governor for signing this important legislation here today. This truly is a win-win for New York State which will enable homeowners and small businesses to save money on their energy bills all while creating jobs and putting thousands of New Yorkers back to work. This legislation directs these loans to be spread across the state based on need and here in Upstate New York, where keeping the heat in is a top priority each winter, this program will create jobs and save consumers on their monthly energy bills.”
Governor Paterson also announced that $7 million from the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has been awarded to 11 counties and New York City to launch the new Green Jobs Corps programs. This funding will allow local departments of social services to provide job skills training and subsidized employment opportunities in “green industries” for public assistance recipients and low-income individuals. Participants in the Green Jobs Corps program will develop occupational skills that will enable them to get jobs in addition to supporting their ability to remain employed and advance in their careers.
To help connect job seekers with the opportunities being announced today, Governor Paterson also announced the launch of a new web site to assist those seeking to enter the new green job sector. The site – www.greencareersny.com – is designed to make it easy for individuals, businesses and workforce professionals to find the State’s local training programs and green job opportunities.
The Green Jobs/Green New York Act (A.8901/S.5888 and chapter amendment A.9031/S.6032) directs the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to establish revolving loan and green jobs training programs to retrofit homes to conserve energy. Loans will be capped at $13,000 for residential and $26,000 for commercial properties. The program will target middleclass homeowners and small businesses that will pay back the loan out of what they save on their energy bills. The job training component will focus on new entrants to the workforce and displaced workers. The training programs and any education and enrollment efforts will be subjected to a competitive procurement process available to community based-organizations.
To fund the weatherization loan program and establish the statewide green jobs training program, NYSERDA will use a portion of $112 million from the auction of carbon emission credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The seed money from the RGGI fund will be used to leverage private investment, which will move us toward a goal of retrofitting one million homes over the next five years.
The Green Jobs bill will allow the State to increase its existing and successful weatherization efforts that are already underway. The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) will eventually administer $394 million in funds under American Recover and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). By the end of this month, $190 million in 64 contracts, representing every county in New York, will be executed as part of the WAP program. Under WAP, a minimum of 45,000 residential units will be weatherized in New York State.
Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee, said: “The goal of the Green Jobs/Green New York Program is three fold. It is designed to create jobs, lower energy costs for households, not-for-profits and small businesses and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is exactly the type of innovative initiative President Obama envisions when he talks about creating green jobs and the new clean energy economy. A successful program here in New York will establish us as a national leader in tackling the tough challenges of climate change and employment opportunities in the 21st Century.”