CSE and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) have issued a report on LA’s workforce needs in the clean tech and clean energy sectors.
The report concludes that existing workforce training programs, particularly at the community colleges, are meeting many of the needs for training in clean-tech industries. However, it found a need for better-trained employees in building performance and carbon footprint analysis and cited future needs for workers in water plant operation, clean energy generation and distribution, clean transportation and building performance. Additionally, the report found that a need exists for workers to upgrade certain skills in order to fulfill the evolving needs of new companies and products coming into the green tech market.
The purpose of the report is to create a strategic plan for economic development and job training that meets the needs of industry and job seekers and takes advantage of resources at LACI’s La Kretz Innovation Campus training center set to open in downtown Los Angeles in 2015.
The report, prepared by Estolano LeSar Perez Advisors, gleans information from workforce program administrators, employment experts, green sector stakeholders and industry representatives to identify the current and projected workforce needs and potential jobs in the region's various clean-tech industries. Funding for the research and workforce analysis was provided by the Union Bank Foundation, which supports green job training and placement.
Training needs in building performance
It finds that new building codes and standards, such as recently updated Title 24 energy efficiency requirements and CALGreen building commissioning regulations, are creating a need for building performance specialists with training in areas such as lighting and HVAC systems, as well as “third-party verifiers” who can audit greenhouse gas emissions. Such jobs are going unfilled today even though they pay up to $100,000 a year.
One of the solutions the report recommends is establishing clean-tech career-training programs connected with employers that include hands-on internships. In the San Diego region, CSE offers the GETUP program that involves three weeks of instruction on home energy performance followed by a 40-hour internship with a local contracting company. Approximately 80% of the trainees complete the program and internships, and 60% of those succeed in finding paid full- or part-time work, according to CSE officials.
Creating pathways to employment
“We need to help facilitate employment opportunities and training programs in Los Angeles’s clean-tech sector, so that local companies can reduce their human resource expenses and create new job opportunities,” said Len Hering, RADM, USN (ret.), CSE executive director. “The rapidly changing clean-tech industry requires skilled and specialized workers that the market cannot yet provide — we hope this report can help change that.”
“At the La Kretz Innovation Campus, we will implement training programs guided by this study that give the workforce clear pathways to well-paying, enduring jobs with upward mobility in the fastest growing sector in the world,” said Fred Walti, LACI executive director. “The highly promising clean-tech companies growing at LACI are creating jobs, and their needs will guide new training programs and internships, complemented by the adjacent LACI Labs and prototype manufacturing space that will give people valuable hands-on experience using the latest tools and methods.”
“Union Bank and its foundation have a long-standing commitment to building strong communities and supporting environmental sustainability,” said Union Bank Senior Vice President Carl Ballton, president and COO of the Union Bank Foundation. “We support the Center for Sustainable Energy’s mission in developing initiatives that help create green job opportunities and training that can spur economic development in the communities that we serve.”
While there is no one definition for clean technology, it generally includes clean energy, advanced transportation and manufacturing, water technology and distribution, sustainable materials and waste recycling/reuse, and building and on-site energy efficiency. There were approximately five million people employed in green occupations in Los Angeles County in 2012, according to the workforce needs report.
The full report, Clean Energy/Clean Tech Workforce Needs Assessment and Strategy for the LA Region, is available online.