Healey-Driscoll Administration Awards Higher Education Institutions $3.4 Million to Grow Massachusetts' Climate Workforce

Government and Politics

June 6, 2024

From: Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey

BOSTON - On the heels of Governor Healey’s keynote address at the Vatican Climate Summit, in which she announced the launch of the new Climate Careers Fund designed to support workforce training in climate, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced today that they have awarded $3.4 million in state funding to?three minority serving institutions to significantly increase the number of students prepared to enter the clean energy workforce: Massachusetts Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology, Holyoke Community College, and Roxbury Community College. This funding is part of the state match that the Governor pledged when creating the Climate Careers Fund.

The Massachusetts Climate Careers Fund is designed to prepare local workers for the climate jobs that employers need to fill while extending the impact of each public and private dollar. The three awardees will have the opportunity to collaborate with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and Social Finance, a national nonprofit and registered investment advisor headquartered in Boston, who is leading the design and will manage the Climate Careers Fund impact over time. 

“Massachusetts is home to the greatest institutions of higher education in the world.?We are proud to be awarding three of them with $3.4 million to accelerate our work building an equitable clean energy workforce,” said?Governor Maura Healey. “Climate change is here, and it is impacting all of our communities. We are going to need tens of thousands of well-trained and well-paid workers to address this head on. This grant will support our continued efforts to adapt our education and training systems to meet this moment now and into the future.”

“We are taking an all-hands-on deck approach to addressing climate change in Massachusetts and are focused on creating high-quality clean energy jobs in every region of the state,” said?Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “This funding will enable our institutions to better support students and faculty in these fields through scholarships, recruitment and retention strategies, professional development, and increased opportunities for industry credential training, classes and tutoring.”

"I talk to young people all the time who are deeply worried about how climate change will affect their futures. We know the antidote to the concern so many of us feel is positive action—real work on the ground to transition as quickly as possible to clean energy and make our communities more resilient. This funding will make dreams come true—good paying jobs that help us build a safer, healthier future for all," said Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer. 

All three awardees are Minority Serving Institutions of higher education as defined by the US Department of Education, as well as serving Environmental Justice Communities. They will use the funding to provide an estimated 400 students with focused job training, placement/hands-on work experience, and support services that prepare individuals to meet today’s skills and work-readiness requirements. This includes creating a new Green Jobs Work Readiness training model, launching a hybrid delivery model for Green Jobs industry certification, and supporting development of new student recruitment models. 

“The Healey-Driscoll Administration has been focused on transforming our education and training system to give students no-cost engaging opportunities to explore careers in high-demand industries and access to the training, skills, and wraparound supports needed to prepare for employment,” said?Secretary of Education Dr. Patrick Tutwiler. “I look forward to seeing the impact this funding will have, supporting our institutions of higher education and partnerships with employers to significantly reach more students, building a more prepared and diverse clean energy workforce.”? 

"Developing a robust and diverse talent pipeline is key in helping Massachusetts achieve its climate goals and create green jobs in every region of the state,”?said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Lauren Jones. “By collaborating with three of the Minority-Serving Institutions in Massachusetts, we are teaming up to improve access and opportunity for our skilled, rising talent as they prepare to enter the workforce.”

“The clean energy revolution is now— and it will require our best and brightest to transition from fossil fuels, drive innovation in climate resiliency measures, and preserve our ecosystems,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Rebecca Tepper. “Massachusetts's residents are our greatest resource, and this funding will provide opportunities for students of color to become leaders in the climate workforce.”  

"Our colleges and universities in Massachusetts are eager to prepare students for careers in emerging fields, and building a clean energy workforce will have lasting benefits for students and the Commonwealth," said Commissioner of Higher Education Noe Ortega. "I'm grateful to the Healey-Driscoll Administration for supporting campuses as they work to strengthen the state's clean energy future through education and training."

This funding is available through a competitive targeted grant that will provide significant planning and support resources. The funding will enable the state to fill career gaps in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources, as well as in which workers' duties involve making their establishment's production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.

“Massachusetts' commitment to addressing climate change is a national model, and a skilled and inclusive workforce is crucial to our collective success. To meet the Commonwealth's climate goals, we will need to add at least 34,000 workers by 2030.?We are excited to collaborate with all three institutions as they utilize the Healey-Driscoll administration’s support for expanded programming to train the next generation of climate heroes,” said Emily Reichert, Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.?

Grant Projects:

Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute - $1,300,000

Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology’s award will be used to offer innovative postsecondary education that skillfully blends career connectedness and technical education. It is estimated to serve approximately 100 students by providing scholarship resources, awareness activities, as well as supporting recruitment and retention of faculty. Funding will build new capabilities and capacity by providing faculty professional development to support the development of new and redesigned curriculum for fifteen Green and Climate related courses in Building Energy Management, Electric Vehicle Technology, Electrical Engineering, HVAC&R Technology and Renewable Energy Technology programs. Resources will support for increasing program enrollment in green jobs programs through partnerships with area high schools and community-based organizations including college and career exposure activities that help incoming prospects better understand how broadly “green jobs” are defined. 

Holyoke Community College - $832,000

Holyoke Community College’s (HCC) award will support the enrollment of 150 students in Green Industry training programs. HCC, the Coalition for an Equitable Economy (CEE), and Springfield WORKS will partner to develop inclusive growth in green energy and construction employment opportunities in Western Massachusetts. HCC and CEE will develop new capabilities and increase capacity to introduce entry-level workers to the green energy sector, provide contextualized job readiness/career exploration and connections to green construction jobs, as well as occupational training in energy audit services, more advanced training for licensed electricians in electric vehicle charging and solar installation, and leadership/management training for supervisors. HCC will work with a mix of established and emerging businesses, focusing upon emerging BIPOC-owned businesses, while also supporting diversification in the workforce for more established businesses. 

Roxbury Community College - $1,300,000

Funding will enable Roxbury Community College (RCC) to develop new curriculum and support the training 150 students to gain industry certification credentials to get Green Jobs as Building Analyst-Technician, Building Analyst-Professional, Infiltration & Duct Leakage technical Multifamily Building Analyst and crew leaders. The college is launching a hybrid instructional model that will include on-campus sessions and collaborating with EverBlue for online courses. Additionally, RCC will use grant resources to provide students support services such as tutoring, food insecurity support from the college’s food pantry, and other supportive services such as assistance with homelessness and behavioral health support.