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An Assessment of the Clean Energy Workforce in New England

New research explores how to expand equitable access to clean energy jobs in New England.

Significant growth in clean energy jobs is expected from the energy transition, especially given recent climate-centered federal policies. Meeting this job demand will require a strong, strategic, well-resourced workforce development ecosystem and a focus on creating equitable, high-road job opportunities that people of color and women can plentifully access.

To better understand these needs, Barr's Climate Program commissioned an analysis from Emerald Cities Collaborative—with partners Browning the Green Space, nomada Consulting, and Ponder Analytics—and BW Research.

One core value of the Barr Foundation essential to this research has been its commitment to centering racial equity in its mission, investments, and in its work with partners and communities. This objective underpins Barr’s Climate program and clean energy strategy, which has long supported an extensive portfolio of investments and advocacy to accelerate a just shift to clean, renewable energy in New England.

Through this research, Barr seeks to provide data to inform a field-wide conversation and to engage other foundations on this topic. We hope that the resulting report helps foster constructive dialogue between clean energy and workforce leaders, and that it inspires additional philanthropy in our region.

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Key Questions

This research explores a set of questions across two main focus areas.

One area focused on a clean energy landscape and workforce ecosystem analysis for New England to answer the following questions:

Stylized text with large teal numbers reading: What is the current workforce ecosystem in New England? How can we support job entry or upskilling pathways into clean energy for people of color? What entry points exist for MWBEs entering the space?

The second focus area explored philanthropic funding supports and approaches to clean energy workforce development to answer the following questions:

Text reading: How can philanthropy support incentives to advance workforce development? What is an appropriate role for Barr and other foundations? How well have these programs increased access to jobs? How can philanthropy increase economic inclusion?

Key Takeaways

To address these questions, the research partners utilized a multi-disciplinary research plan; combining surveys, executive interviews, focus groups and data and policy analyses. Below is a summary of the key takeaways, including:

  • The clean energy industry in New England is stable but will need to grow to meet climate goals and anticipated demand for energy technologies.

  • The clean energy sector is behind other sectors of the economy in gender and racial inclusion.

  • Sector growth must intentionally balance job quality and job access as federal funding support for clean energy increases over the next several years.

  • Regionally, the workforce development and clean energy sectors remain siloed in many state and local governments. Further collaboration is needed to improve connectivity across the workforce ecosystem.

  • In New England and throughout the country, there has been limited philanthropic support for clean energy workforce development. Deeper philanthropic engagement could foster collaboration and support equity-centered approaches to industry growth.

Download a Summary of the Key Takeaways

Read or Download the Full Report

Access to Clean Energy Jobs: Expanding Opportunities

Watch a Presentation of the Findings

Geographic Profiles of the Clean Energy Workforce Ecosystem