The number of individuals with clean energy jobs in New York State reached a record level of 165,000 workers at the end of 2021, Gov. Kathy Hochul states, helping to lead New York’s COVID-19 economic recovery by recouping the clean energy jobs lost in 2020 and exceeding pre-COVID-19 clean energy employment levels by 1,300 jobs.
“This year’s Clean Energy Industry Report shows what I have always known to be true of New Yorkers – that we are resilient, and we keep moving forward in the face of adversity,” Hochul says. “Although COVID-19 greatly impacted the entire economy over the last few years, we have seen how the clean energy industry has led the way in our recovery. More New Yorkers than ever before are employed with family-sustaining clean energy jobs and are actively helping New York build a workforce that can meet the demands of the future.”
The 2022 New York Clean Energy Industry Report by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provides data on the state’s clean energy job growth through the end of 2021. The report shows that this sector rebounded faster from the impact of COVID-19 than nearly all other industries in New York and that since 2015, clean energy employment in the state has grown by approximately 17 percent, or over 24,000 jobs.
Key findings from this year’s report include 165,055 New Yorkers had clean energy jobs at the end of 2021, up from 157,686 in 2020. New York’s green jobs grew more than 4.7% from 2020 through 2021 – gaining over 7,000 jobs in 12 months.
This sector experienced a faster recovery compared to other industries in New York including education and retail trade; employment in these industries grew between 1.7-3% between 2020 and 2021.
Employment met or exceeded pre-pandemic levels in almost all technology sectors. Renewable electric power generation, alternative transportation, renewable fuels, and grid modernization and energy storage all reached or surpassed their pre-pandemic employment levels by the end of 2021.
Solar accounted for the largest share of job gains in the renewable electric power generation technology sector. While solar firms across New York lost more than 400 workers from 2019 through 2020, they grew by more than 1,000 workers between 2020 through 2021.
To further advance green jobs in New York, NYSERDA has committed more than $120 million to support the creation of a clean energy workforce pipeline and provide new training opportunities for new and existing workers. These opportunities include programs designed to enhance a worker’s skills in clean heating, energy efficiency, and other clean technology sectors and assists businesses with upskilling existing workers, reducing hiring costs, and recruiting and training new employees. More importantly, these efforts prioritize training programs for the state’s most underserved populations – low-income individuals, veterans, disabled workers, single parents, and the formerly incarcerated – and will also help integrate displaced workers into this new promising industry.
As part of its workforce development funding commitment, NYSERDA has already awarded approximately $50 million to support important partnerships with labor, colleges and universities, non-for-profits, manufacturers, trade associations and others, to ensure workers are trained through continuing education courses, certificate programs, degree programs, internships, apprenticeships and on-the-job training.
NYSERDA has awarded $9.5 million to provide over 12,400 New Yorkers with hands-on experience, and job placement assistance in the energy efficiency and clean technology sectors (including HVAC, insulation and air sealing, smart grid, etc.).
Over $7.1 million in wage and on-the-job-training support has been provided to 147 businesses in hiring over 1,150 new workers, 33% of which are from priority populations.
Clean Energy Internship Program: NYSERDA has placed over 1,500 student and recent graduate interns at 262 clean energy businesses across the state.
NYSERDA is currently supporting training for building staff who operate and maintain over 3,000 buildings across the state. The program provides over $10 million to train and upskill over 6,000 building operations and maintenance workers.
NYSERDA is providing $9 million for training initiatives that advance technical skills and prepare workers for jobs in New York’s growing offshore wind industry.
Designed to establish a pool of qualified contractors to deliver training, develop curriculum and/or training tools, and provide market expertise and/or other services related to clean energy workforce development and training.
NYSERDA is partnering with Roadtrip Nation to execute a comprehensive clean energy career awareness initiative to highlight green jobs across the State and the enormous potential for career pathways in the clean energy sector.
These efforts will be critical as New York works to meet the anticipated clean energy workforce demand expected with the implementation of the Climate Act. Results from a 2021 Jobs Study issued by the Climate Action Council’s Just Transition Working Group, show that in the 21 growing sub-sectors total employment will increase by more than 60% from 2019 to 2030 – adding at least 211,000 new jobs in New York State.