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Seattle’s Green New Deal is Building an Equitable Clean Energy Economy  

Green jobs are good jobs.  

But according to the recent Seattle Jobs Initiative’s report, the Construction and Building Operations sector is primarily white and male, with all occupational levels except helpers being at least 70% white.  

As we transition away from fossil fuels, we must diversify the clean energy workforce to meet growing demand and address economic disparities to ensure Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and women have access to critical workforce development opportunities that offer living wage jobs. 

Seattle’s Green New Deal and Workforce Development Programs 

Workforce development is a critical strategy of Seattle’s Green New Deal, which aims to address the climate crisis by investing in a low-carbon economy. One way the City of Seattle is doing that is to advance an equitable transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy by prioritizing investments in communities historically most harmed by economic, racial, and environmental injustices.  

As part of this work, the City of Seattle has invested $1 million in clean energy career training programs across six workforce development organizations: ANEW, Northwest Carpenters Institute of Washington, Seattle Central Pre-Apprenticeship Training (PACT), Sphere Solar Energy, YouthCare’s YouthBuild, and Emerald Cities Collaborative.  

OSE is proud to partner with Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) and the Office of Economic Development (OED) to support investments in a workforce that can help address climate change, and we are excited to spotlight two of these organizations that recently held graduation events.   

Celebrating Seattle’s New Additions to the Clean Energy Workforce 

Emerald Cities Collaborative Spotlight 

Emerald Cities Collaborative graduates

On Saturday, June 24, Emerald Cities Collaborative celebrated the graduation of participants in the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) Training and Career Preparation Academy.  

As part of their mission to engage communities historically left out of the economic and development process, Emerald Cities Collaborative’s HVAC Career Prep Academy is designed to train women, veterans, low-income individuals, and Black and Brown community members in HVAC/R systems.  

Participants completed the 12-week program with 12 evening lectures, demonstrations, and 4-weekend hands-on laboratory training at the HVAC Institute in Kent.  

Sphere Solar Energy Spotlight 

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell poses with graduates of the Sphere Solar Energy program.

On September 27, OSE  joined Mayor Bruce Harrell, Seattle Office of Economic Development, and Seattle FAS to celebrate the graduates of Sphere Solar Energy’s latest Clean Energy Career Pathway program!  

The program provides interactive, hands-on experience learning about clean energy components, system assembly, electricity fundamentals, and business functions such as how to assess solar feasibility, size a system, and calculate electricity consumption. 

Congrats to the graduates, and thank you to Sphere Solar Energy for your work delivering clean energy solutions that strengthen community resilience and create pathways for individuals from all walks of life to thrive in the sustainable energy sector. 

Our Next Steps in Building an Equitable Workforce 

These recent graduation events are just the beginning of a more equitable and clean energy economy in Seattle. We are committed to advancing the Green New Deal and transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy in a way that prioritizes investments in underserved communities.  

With the City working to implement and pass policies like the Building Emissions Performance Standard (BEPS), the Clean Heat Program, and the Transportation Electrification Blueprint, we will continue to support programs that diversify the clean energy workforce and offer living wage jobs to BIPOC and women.   

Stay tuned for more!