There has been a lot of talk lately about the future of green jobs. The Obama administration, for example, has invested heavily in renewable power to help the nation launch a massive economic recovery.
At least one state is following the president’s lead. This spring, New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine helped launch a training program that will create hundreds of environmentally friendly jobs for high school graduates. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Green Job Training Partnership Program will recruit, prepare and train qualified candidates to fill the growing market for green jobs in the state. Through existing partnerships between industry and educational institutions, participants will be afforded apprenticeship opportunities in the energy industry. Twelve weeks of training includes classroom instruction, team building and workplace readiness as well as safety training and hands-on exposure to real-work occupational settings. Time in the classroom focuses on environmental global awareness, so trainees fully understand how their work can make a difference for the environment. Potential jobs resulting from the training and apprenticeship include energy auditor, weatherization inspector, energy conservation representative and residential air sealing technician.
On cue, a homespun utility, New Jersey Resources (NJR), announced the formation of the Conserve to Preserve Foundation. Its mission is to provide support for qualified organizations and initiatives that support environmentally friendly programs, advance energy-efficiency opportunities and technologies, promote green job growth and further encourage effective environmental stewardship. The foundation made its first grant of $300,000 to the state’s Green Job Training Partnership Program in late February.
According to New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner David J. Socolow, the grant “highlights the importance of public/private partnerships that leverage investment in initiatives to identify emerging job opportunities, address the existing skill gaps of the work force and prepare New Jersey’s work force to meet the demands for workers in the green economy.”
In a recent filing with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), NJR’s primary subsidiary, New Jersey Natural Gas, proposed an energy-efficiency program that would create or sustain nearly 100 green jobs, such as those that participants in the Green Job Training Program would be qualified for.