Senators Smith, Heinrich Introduce Clean Energy Jobs Act To Boost Energy Saving Opportunities, Career Access For Women And Minorities

WASHINGTON [7/27/2022] – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced the Clean Energy Jobs Act to meet growing energy workforce needs and create a comprehensive strategy at the Department of Energy (DOE) to increase participation among women and minorities throughout the industry.

Energy jobs are some of the fastest growing occupations in America. From 2015 to 2019 the energy sector grew at twice the rate as the overall economy. In the coming years, there will be an increasing demand for trained workers, particularly in renewable energy, energy storage, and electrification. The Clean Energy Jobs Act helps meet this demand while providing good-paying jobs and increasing reliance on domestic manufacturing.

“I always say that when it comes to transitioning to a clean energy economy, we can lead or follow—and I think we should lead,” said Sen. Smith, Co-Chair of the Electrification Caucus. “Transitioning to a clean energy economy isn’t just essential to reduce air pollution and combat climate change; it’s a huge economic opportunity for local communities in Minnesota and across the country. This legislation will help ensure we have a diverse and well-trained workforce ready to meet the demand for good-paying clean energy careers.”

“As more and more families are able to access the cost-saving and health benefits of home electrification, we need a workforce that has the skillsets to get these plans across the finish line. The Clean Energy Jobs Act builds up the workforce to meet the demand, and increases opportunities for women, minorities, and veterans to take hold of these good-paying careers,” said Heinrich, member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Co-Founder, Co-Chair of the Electrification Caucus.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act:

  • Directs the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with other federal partners, to carry out a comprehensive program to improve education and training for energy and manufacturing-related jobs.
  • Makes educating and training underrepresented groups, particularly women and minorities, for these fields a national priority.
  • Creates an Energy Workforce Program at the Department of Energy to provide grants to eligible businesses and joint labor-management partnerships to pay for on-the-job training for new and existing employees in renewable energy, energy efficiency, electrification, grid modernization and greenhouse gas emissions reduction sectors. Priority is given to small businesses and labor partnerships recruiting from local communities, minorities, women, foster children, workers transitioning from fossil energy jobs, and veterans.
  • Establishes a resource center for schools, workforce development programs, and industry organizations to guide the development of energy-related training programs.
  • Instructs the Department of Energy to collaborate with industry, the Departments of Education, Labor, Commerce, and the National Science Foundation, to develop guidelines on skills development for energy related industries.  
  • Establishes a scholarships and education grant program to fill workforce needs through community colleges, vocational schools, and secondary schools.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act is supported by Rewiring America, E4TheFuture, the Building Performance Association, Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO), National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), Federal Performance Contracting Coalition (FPCC), BlocPower, and the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC).

You can find the full text of the bill here.