Washington State
House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
Postsecondary Education & Workforce Committee
HB 1176
Brief Description: Developing opportunities for service and workforce programs to support climate-ready communities.
Sponsors: Representatives Slatter, Fitzgibbon, Berry, Walen, Ramel, Leavitt, Taylor, Callan, Macri, Ryu, Reeves, Reed, Mena, Chopp, Duerr, Thai, Wylie, Ortiz-Self, Stonier, Pollet and Tharinger; by request of Office of the Governor.
Brief Summary of Bill
  • Enacts the Washington Climate Corps Network to support and grow climate-related service opportunities for young adults & veterans.
  • Establishes the Clean Energy Technology Workforce Advisory Committee to advise policymakers on efforts to expand the clean energy technology workforce and strategies to mitigate adverse impacts of climate change policy transitions.
  • Directs the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board to evaluate clean energy technology workforce needs and make recommendations to the governor and legislature. 
Hearing Date: 1/17/23
Staff: Saranda Ross (786-7068).

Serve Washington.

The federal National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 required the Governor of each state to establish a state commission on service in order to be eligible for federal support of national service efforts.  In 1994 the Washington Commission on National and Community Service was created by Executive Order 94-03 to:

  • comply with federal requirements under the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993;
  • seek additional sources of non-federal funds, especially private funds, to meet matching requirements and build upon existing service initiatives; 
  • provide recommendations to the Governor pertaining to legislative or policy initiatives that promote the ethic of service;
  • identify existing and new policies or practices that lead to the expansion of national service opportunities in Washington and support federal programs and efforts that expand national service; and
  • provide the leadership and vision, alongside local volunteer organizations, civic and community groups, and units of government, to make service a part of the lives of all Washingtonians.


In 2014 the Washington Commission for National and Community Service was renamed Serve Washington.  A commission of 20 members was appointed by the Governor for three-year terms to advise Serve Washington.  The Commission members function as Ambassadors of Service within their sector and in their local communities to promote service opportunities to encourage volunteerism by all Washingtonians.  The Office of Financial Management (OFM) administers federal grants and provides state resources for the staffing and support of Serve Washington.  The Director of the OFM appoints the Executive Director of Serve Washington.


Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board.
The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (Workforce Board) was created in 1991 to provide planning, coordination, evaluation, monitoring, and policy analysis for the state workforce training system as a whole, and to advise the Governor and the Legislature concerning the training system.  It is a tripartite partnership of business, labor, and government with a Governor-appointed board of 11 members.


Overburdened Communities.
Overburdened communities are vulnerable populations in a geographic area facing combined, multiple environmental harms and health impacts, and includes but is not limited to highly impacted communities.  Highly impacted communities are impacted by fossil fuel pollution and climate change in Washington, as identified by the Department of Health in its cumulative impact analysis, or are located in census tracts that are fully or partially on Indian country.


2008 Green Economy Jobs Growth Initiative, Labor Market Research, and Green Energy Skill Panels.
The Green Economy Jobs Growth Initiative (Green Jobs Initiative) was enacted as a part of Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill (E2SHB) 2815 during the 2008 legislative session.  Its goal was to increase the number of clean energy jobs in the state to 25,000 by 2020.  The Green Jobs Initiative required a number of actions by agencies and programs including the Employment Security Department, Department of Commerce, Workforce Board, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Washington State University Small Business Development Center, and the Washington State University Extension Energy Program.  These entities, for example, were required to conduct labor market research to analyze the current labor market and projected job growth in the green economy, the current and projected recruitment and skill requirement of green economy industry employers, the wage and benefits ranges of jobs within green economy industries, and the education and training requirements of entry-level and incumbent workers in those industries. 


The Employment Security Department and Department of Commerce and were also required to propose which industries will be considered high-demand green industries and define which family-sustaining wage and benefits ranges within green economy industries will be considered middle or high-wage occupations.  The Department of Commerce was required to identify emerging technologies and innovations likely to contribute to advancements in the green economy. 


The Workforce Board was directed to create and pilot green industry skill panels consisting of, but not limited to, business representatives from industry sectors related to clean energy; labor unions representing workers in those industries or labor affiliates administering state-approved, joint apprenticeship programs or labor-management partnership programs that train workers for these industries; state and local veterans agencies; employer associations; educational institutions and local workforce development councils within the region that the panels propose to operate; and other key stakeholders.  The panels were required to: 

  • conduct labor market and industry analyses, in consultation with the employment security department, and drawing on the findings of its research when available;
  • recommend strategies to meet the recruitment and training needs of the industry and small businesses; and
  • recommend strategies to leverage and align other public and private funding sources.
Summary of Bill:

Climate Corps Network and Clean Energy Technology Workforce Advisory Committee Establishment
The Washington Climate Corps Network (Network) is enacted.  Serve Washington establishes and operates the Network with administrative support from the Office of Financial Management (OFM). The Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (Workforce Board) must establish a Clean Energy Technology Workforce Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee). 


Climate Corps Network
The purpose of the Network, and duties of Serve Washington, is to support and grow climate-related service opportunities for young adults and veterans with the objective of building clean energy, low-carbon, and climate-resilient communities, ecosystems, and economies while providing education, workforce development, and career pathways with a focus on overburdened communities.


In operating the Network, Serve Washington must:

  1. consider the findings and recommendations from the Advisory Committee;
  2. establish participation rules for Network service members;
  3. in coordination with the Workforce Board and other entities, develop and administer a Service-learning Program to provide Network service members training and learning opportunities on leadership, environmental stewardship, civic engagement, and climate-related professional and educational opportunities;
  4. administer grants to support and broaden access to climate-related service programs with priority on overburdened communities; and 
  5. support equitable access to participation in the Network and reduce financial barriers for Network service members. 


In administering the Network, Serve Washington and OFM may:

  1. adopt rules necessary to implement the purpose of the Network;
  2. receive gifts, grants, and endowments to benefit the Network; and
  3. establish relationships with various public and private entities to promote and enable climate action.


Clean Energy Technology Workforce Advisory Committee

Established by the Workforce Board, the Advisory Committee advises the Network and policymakers on efforts to expand the clean energy technology workforce by prioritizing transition of the existing workforce, providing training opportunities, and mitigating the impact of climate change policy transitions to the workforce.  Advisory Committee membership is open to all interested parties and must reflect a balance of employer and worker perspectives.  The Advisory Committee selects a cochair representing business and a cochair representing workers to lead it.  The Advisory Committee must:

  1. review workforce and business issues in the energy sector, its supply chain, and the impacts of the energy transition to dependent sectors; and
  2. recommend strategies to prevent workforce displacement, support job creation in clean energy technology sectors, and provide support for workforce-related changes to business and for adversely impacted workers. 


Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board.
Each biennium, the Workforce Board must consult with the Advisory Committee, the Department of Commerce, and the Employment Security Department to evaluate the workforce impact of Washington's climate policies, including:

  • labor market trends;
  • current and projected workforce demand in traditional and clean energy technology professions; 
  • restructuring of jobs and adjusted skillsets associated with climate change mitigation policies; 
  • the wage and benefits range of jobs within the clean energy sector;
  • demographics of the traditional and clean energy technology sectors;
  • an inventory of skills needed in clean energy technology jobs, an analysis of how the skills and training of the existing workforce can fill those needs, and identification of additional workforce development needs in the sector; and 
  • potential key challenges in advancing a clean energy technology workforce. 


Each biennium, the Workforce Board must consult with impacted postsecondary training partners to analyze and develop recommendations for necessary steps to support workforce training required for clean energy technology occupations.  The Workforce Board must also conduct a study, or contract it out, of the feasibility of a transition to retirement program to preserve income, medical, and retirement benefits for workers close to retirement who face job loss or transition because of energy technology sector changes. 


Beginning November 1, 2023, and every two years thereafter, the Workforce Board must report to the governor and the legislature recommendations on how Washington can support worker and employer needs in response to changing workforce requirements for clean energy technology.  The report must include:

  • recommendations from the Advisory Committee;
  • the Workforce Board's biennial evaluation of the workforce impact of Washington's climate policies; and
  • the Workforce Board's biennial clean energy technology workforce training recommendations. 


The statutes creating the Comprehensive Green Economy Jobs Growth Initiative and the Green Industry Skill Panels are repealed.  The statute directing the Employment Security Department, the Department of Commerce, and the Workforce Board to conduct labor market research in the green economy is repealed. 


Appropriation: None.
Fiscal Note: Requested on January 13, 2023.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.