Sustainable Pittsburgh has been selected by Jobs for the Future (JFF) as a Quality Green Jobs Regional Challenge Member. The organization joins a diverse group of 20 regions across the U.S to train and prepare individuals for climate-resilient jobs. Challenge members were selected from a pool of 101 applicants.
“We are so pleased for Sustainable Pittsburgh and our region to be recognized for our work in connecting and strengthening our clean energy workforce ecosystem,” said Joylette Portlock, Ph.D., Executive Director of Sustainable Pittsburgh. “This investment enables us to accelerate our ongoing progress by deepening our understanding of regional needs, risks, and opportunities at the intersection of climate change and workforce development.”
A key partner for Sustainable Pittsburgh is Partner4Work, a $25+ million integrated workforce development organization dedicated to strengthening Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Through collaboration with more than 100 partners, Partner4Work connects thousands of adults and young adults to training and employment opportunities every year.
“We have a vested interest in the provision of quality workforce development services for residents in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County,” shared Robert Cherry, Partner4Work CEO. “We are pleased to join Sustainable Pittsburgh to expand our connections and share resources to meet the growing needs for skilled workers in our region’s clean energy industries – and provide quality jobs to all residents.”
The City of Pittsburgh Office of Mayor Ed Gainey recently announced Partner4Work’s selection as the anchor institution for the White House Workforce Talent Hub Initiative. Pittsburgh is among five hubs across the county where resources will be directed to expand apprenticeship and career and technical education programs.
“The level of collaboration and partnership we see with groups like Sustainable Pittsburgh and Partner4Work underscore the reasons Pittsburgh is on the national radar for workforce development,” remarked Mayor Ed Gainey, City of Pittsburgh. “Sustainable Pittsburgh’s membership in the Quality Green Jobs Challenge means further investment in helping to connect our residents, particularly those who have historically been marginalized or disadvantaged, with jobs that provide a living wage, stability, and equitable economic advancement.”
The Quality Green Jobs Regional Challenge is part of an initiative by Climate-Resilient Employees for a Sustainable Tomorrow (CREST), a career preparation and reskilling initiative of the Ares Charitable Foundation, which JFF is partnering with to address climate risk and equity to build a green, resilient, and inclusive economy for all.
While it is critical that a response to climate change and its impact on the American workforce is coordinated at a national level, regions are leading their own on-the-ground efforts to strengthen regional economies and address the escalating climate crisis.
In southwestern PA, where economic growth has significantly depended on extractive industry, the impending growth of clean energy jobs presents a vital and historic opportunity to build an inclusive economy that meets multiple sustainability goals.
According to sources like the 2022 U.S. Energy & Employment Jobs Report, 2021 Pennsylvania Clean Energy Employment Report, and 2021 Pennsylvania Clean Energy Industry Workforce Development Needs Assessment & Gap Analysis, clean energy industries are poised for massive expansion and job creation. Yet people identifying as Black or African American represent less than 10% of Pennsylvania’s clean energy workforce according to the PA Department of Environmental Protection.
Key findings from the 2022 E2 Clean Jobs Pennsylvania report confirm that more than half of the clean energy jobs in Pennsylvania are in traditional industries like construction, manufacturing, and repair services; however, 87% of employers are struggling to meet the need for a trained workforce. Additionally, almost half of clean energy jobs are outside of the two major metropolitan areas of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, emphasizing the compelling need for broad connections across the region.
Through its work with partners to build a connected regional ecosystem that promotes equitable workforce development, Sustainable Pittsburgh is helping position the region to meet the demands for clean energy workers with a diverse and appropriately trained workforce, and put all residents on the path to prosperity. Serving as a member of the Quality Green Jobs Regional Challenge is a win-win-win for workers, employers, and the planet.