Technological improvements and demand for clean energy have caused a boom in the clean energy economy and green jobs across the country. Clean energy employment opportunities grew a staggering 70% faster than total nationwide employment opportunities from 2015 to 2019. By 2019, clean energy jobs outnumbered fossil fuel jobs 3 to 1. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that solar installers and wind technicians will be two of the fastest growing occupations in the next decade.
Unlike fossil fuel jobs, clean energy jobs can also be created anywhere and everywhere that we use energy and clean energy jobs span many industries, including energy production, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and energy storage. Clean job opportunities are readily available and offer competitive wages to job seekers of all education levels, employing over 3 million people in the United States.
What does the transition to a clean energy economy look like?
A successful clean energy economy has both economic and environmental benefits and supports vulnerable communities through a just transition. It’s essential to create pathways to help those working in the fossil fuel industry transition to long-term, well-paying careers in the clean energy industry.
MCE is a not-for-profit public agency that has been setting the standard for clean energy in California and beyond since 2010. We offer more renewable power at stable rates, significantly reducing energy-related greenhouse emissions for our 37 member communities and more than 1.5 million people across four Bay Area counties: Contra Costa, Marin, Napa and Solano.
MCE has been leading the way in clean energy workforce development opportunities with a focus on public-private partnerships to construct local renewable energy projects and install energy efficiency retrofits, electric vehicle charging stations and low-income residential solar. One partnership with Rising Sun Center for Opportunity supports training programs for youth, women and individuals interested in reentering the workforce. The programs offer training and support to build the necessary skills to start a green career.
A case study from Rising Sun
In the summer of 2021, Bry’Ana Wallace graduated from Rising Sun.
“After losing my grandmother years ago, I became homeless. For a long time, I didn’t know where to turn or how to change my situation. My cousin told me about Rising Sun and how the programs had changed people’s lives. Rising Sun connected me with Moms4Housing, an organization that helps reclaim housing for homeless mothers. I am now in a house of my own and my son and I are no longer homeless.”
Following her training with Rising Sun, she then worked a two-week solar job with GRID Alternatives before moving into a full-time job in terrazzo flooring installation.
“I learned so many skills through the program, from construction, to math, to professionalism. In addition to skills and experience, Rising Sun offers mental health coaching, help with substance abuse and general mentorship. The resources at Rising Sun helped me when I felt like I was losing my way. Everyone was truly supportive and continues to support me even now as an alumni. I am working on launching a new career in elevator construction.”
Supporting the clean energy economy
MCE supports the clean energy economy through sustainable workforce guidelines that requirement local hire, prevailing wage and union labor on local projects. Our workforce development programs and partnerships support local contractors and match job seekers to paid on-the-job experience. Many of MCE’s training programs work with underserved populations, including low-income residents, those who have a history with the justice system and those who were previously incarcerated.
You can support the transition to a clean energy economy too by choosing 100% renewable energy to support the development of local clean energy projects.