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Is the Future of Pennsylvania’s Workforce Development Green? New Report Says Yes

Updated: Mar 28

Is the future of Pennsylvania’s workforce development green? The answer is yes, according to a new report from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The report released Wednesday shows “tremendous potential” for clean energy workforce development opportunities that can bolster Pennsylvania’s economy.

The clean energy industry has been a growing source of jobs in Pennsylvania for several years prior, and the COVID-19 pandemic has created a backlog of clean energy projects, resulting in a need for more skilled workers to fulfill project demands. 

Now, the 2021 Pennsylvania Clean Energy Industry Workforce Development Needs Assessment and Gap Analysis Report identifies how to best support continued job growth in the state’s clean energy technology sectors.

“As Pennsylvania focuses on economic recovery and growth, the clean energy sector will undoubtedly help move Pennsylvania forward because this area is rife with opportunities for employees and employers alike,’’ DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in the release. “This demand is only going to keep growing, and it will need a strong workforce. This report provides recommendations to support clean energy workforce development.” 

For the purposes of the report, the industry is composed of five major technology sectors:

  1. energy efficiency

  2. clean energy generation

  3. alternative transportation

  4. clean grid and storage and 

  5. clean fuels

There are also various sub-sectors within each of those sectors such as solar, wind, efficient lighting, hydropower, smart grid, electric vehicles, and biomass fuels.

Over the last five years, these occupations grew by a collective 6 percent. 

Pennsylvania is a manufacturing hub for wind, hydro turbine, and ENERGY STAR products, which means the state is well-poised to supply nationwide demand for clean energy goods and services, possibly requiring the need for more skilled assemblers and fabricators and other manufacturing positions, according to the release. 

The ramping up of clean energy generation and energy efficiency measures indicates a need for construction and installation workers such as HVAC mechanics, electricians, and solar photovoltaic installers.

“The commonwealth’s clean energy industry presents us with a wide array of opportunities, from creating jobs to improving the quality of life in our communities,” Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin said. “We are one of the largest solar employers in the nation, and almost one-fifth of electricity sold comes from approved renewable or alternative sources. It is critical that we continue to invest in the businesses and technologies that provide clean, reliable, and efficient energy to Pennsylvanians.”

GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini called the report encouraging.

“This is good news for both our region and our environment,” she said. “We hear the false argument all the time: We can either have jobs or a healthy environment. This report shows they aren’t mutually exclusive and in fact the future looks bright for both clean energy and good jobs in PA.”

You can check out the entire press release here.

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