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Denver Establishes 6 Green Workforce Development and Training Programs

City and County of Denver

Denver, CO

Denver awarded $2.6 million through its Climate Protection Fund to create and expand workforce training programs for clean energy jobs. The Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency funded six programs that provide training for various skill levels in renewable energy and green construction.

Topics Covered

Renewables
Workforce & Education

Cost

Initial: 2.6 Million USD

Funding

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2022

Gov Champion

Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency

Problem Addressed

Colorado has an increasing demand for a green workforce specializing in renewable energy and green construction.

Denver, and Colorado at large, are leaders in the green economy. The increased demand for green projects that advance climate goals comes with an increased need for skills in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy conservation. There is a particularly high demand for jobs focused on wind and solar energy production.

With the passing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the overall demand for construction workers is also on the rise. The industry's workforce currently has 175,000 skilled workers and is expected to grow to approximately 220,000. 

In order to prepare for this growth, Denver's Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency developed green workforce training programs that support the state's green economy. 

Solutions Used

Denver awarded $2.6 million in contracts to create and expand workforce training programs for clean energy jobs.

The Office of Climate Action Sustainability and Resiliency (CASR) awarded funds through its Climate Protection Fund to develop workforce training programs with six organizations. These programs expand equitable access to jobs in the green economy by providing outreach, education, up-skilling, re-skilling, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training. These programs build equity and employment for people from underrepresented communities, including: 

The Community College of Denver's WorkNow program trains individuals in the construction field and educates them on green construction practices. This work-based learning program has a curriculum for both the clean energy and green building sectors. Applicants can then gain building inspection and maintenance certification upon completion. 

The Denver Public Schools program introduces high school students to green energy careers with in-class speakers and field trips to businesses. The district also offers a Renewable Energy Academy summer program for students to complete an Installation Basics Training certification, gain valuable networking connections, and get exposure to internship opportunities in the industry.

Energy Efficiency Business Coalition (EEBC), ICAST, and Julius Education have partnered together to provide a program that will provide basic free online training, prepare candidates for Building Performance Institute certifications and recruit them for green-energy jobs. It also provides upskilling for high-efficiency heating, ventilation, and air conditioning maintenance technologies. 

The nonprofit GRID Alternatives offers a paid-training fellowship program to connect individuals from underrepresented communities with career opportunities in solar installation and construction. This program aims to grow a more equitable green workforce by providing participants with career coaching and job search support.

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA), in partnership with Goodwill of Colorado, created a Facility Management Training Program. This program has become a Registered Apprenticeship program within Colorado which major employers support and will offer participants employment upon graduation.

The Mile High Youth Corps Energy and Water Conservation program supports low-income residents through services that lower utility bills, while also reducing energy and water consumption. The training program offers certifications in the Department of Energy and Department of Labor recognized training programs.

Outcomes

1

Green workforce training programs are essential components for investing in Colorado's long-term climate action and climate equity plans.

2

Six community-based training programs to develop technical skills and qualified candidates to participate in the green workforce economy.

3

As of Q1 2022, 29 people were enrolled in the green workforce development program and the number is expected to grow over time.

Something Unique

Denver's plan provides wrap around services for program participants, who receive childcare, transportation, mental health benefits.

Who Should Consider

All cities with workforce development programs should consider creating and supporting Green Workforce programing. This is the future and there is no time to waste.

Other Recognition

Featured City, Bloomberg's American Cities Climate Challenge

April 2022

Government Project Team

  • Shannon Jahn, Green Workforce Lead

Last Updated

Jun 1st, 2022
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