US Leaders Recognize Climate Workforce Programs as a Key Component of Climate Change Policy
In recent months, workforce programs designed to address climate change by mobilizing workers to support environmentally focused projects have come to the forefront of the conversation among democratic politicians. We are thrilled to see the concept of a cohort of professionals working to create climate solutions taking the national stage. This is the work we have been engaged in for over a decade with our flagship program, Climate Corps , and we are excited to be a part of emerging initiatives.
Climate Corps 2019-20 Fellow Cohort
SEI’s Climate Corps was established in 2010. Since then, through this award-winning bridge-to-career model we have worked with over 500 Fellows on 1,000 high-impact projects, such as implementing local government climate action plans, driving deeper energy efficiency savings, expanding electric vehicle adoption and leading climate education programs. Through Climate Corps, we simultaneously help organizations address climate and sustainability projects and cultivate the next generation of environmental leaders. Our Fellows work on a wide range of climate resiliency efforts at local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses and educational institutions.
In September, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the creation of the California Climate Action Corps on California Climate Action Day, September 24th. We’re excited to be partnering with California Volunteers as an implementing partner supporting Newsom’s initiative. Through this program, Americorps fellows throughout the state will work on local climate action projects in frontline communities. The California Climate Action Corps focuses on community engagement efforts, including edible food recovery and wildfire protection projects.
The outlook for climate workforce programs throughout the country has grown even brighter with the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next President and Vice President of the United States. President Elect Joe Biden includes a Civilian Climate Corps in his sustainability and clean energy plan. A national program like Biden’s is not a new idea; the U.S. first launched a Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, which employed hundreds of thousands of people in improving parks and forests on federal land.
In Biden’s Civilian Climate Corps, workers would focus on “conserving our public lands, bolstering community resilience, and addressing the changing climate.” The Biden team lists sustainable forest management, coastal ecosystem restoration, and urban tree planting among the many project areas of the Civilian Climate Corps.
Over ten years of implementing the Climate Corps program, we at SEI have seen the power of passionate climate change professionals to have a positive impact on the communities they serve. Climate workforce initiatives deserve the attention they have recently garnered; they are a key strategy to confront climate change through the creation of green jobs. The California Climate Action Corps and proposed national Civilian Climate Corps represent an exciting move towards creating the workforce we’ll need to confront the threat of climate change, and create a more sustainable future.
See what sustainability projects this year’s Climate Corps Fellows are working on here. To find out more about hosting a Fellow, fill out the interest form.
The SEI Team
Environmental education and workforce development experts share stories from the field