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:
In 2014 the Washington Commission on 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.
Career Connect Washington.
In 2017, the Governor created the Career Connect Washington Task Force to develop strategies for expanding career connected learning. Career connected learning focuses on combining classroom learning with work-based learning.
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 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 where the panels propose to operate; and other key stakeholders. The panels were required to:
Climate Corps Network and Clean Energy Technology Workforce Advisory Committee Establishment.
Subject to appropriations, 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 duty 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:
In administering the Network, Serve Washington and OFM may:
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:
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:
The Workforce Board must also consult with Career Connect to conduct a literature review of the existing models, data, and findings related to the workforce impact evaluation to avoid duplication of efforts.
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:
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.
(In support) This bill allows Washington to transition into clean energy, rise to address the climate crisis, and create new jobs for current and future generations. Service programs such as this provide young people and veterans an opportunity to see what the future looks like.
The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (Workforce Board) is capable of upholding its duties under this timely bill, which will allow Washington to be more proactive in not leaving people behind in the transition to clean energy. The focus on transferable skills allows the Workforce Board to provide recommendations for the framework for credential pathway systems for clean energy technology. The bill also creates pathways for new entrants into the clean energy workforce.
The bill centers frontline and overburdened communities. These communities, which have historically been left out of efforts such as this, deserve jobs that have opportunities for growth and safe conditions. This bill will not only bring together diverse communities, it will also allow overburdened communities become more resilient by providing equity-centered programs.
This bill lays the groundwork for projects such as Firewise and drought contingency plans. It also addresses the feasibility of a transition to retirement program and ensures a return on investment, especially given clean energy is a high-demand workforce. The demand for a clean energy workforce outpaces the people who have the skillsets to fill it.
(In support) The Legislature has taken bold steps to address climate change. However, Washington does not have enough workers to fulfill those legislative promises. This bill would create a network for individuals to get experience and exposure to climate-related jobs, with a focus on organizations that are located in communities that will be disproportionately impacted by climate change, and it will create a task force to transition workers and forecast clean technology jobs. As the number of jobs in this sector grows, it is critical to plan for and support young people and others in applying for and attaining those jobs. This bill will help provide a pathway for developing this workforce. There is strong demand for living wage jobs that will help prepare for a changing climate. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in preparation for climate change. This bill has an appropriate sense of scale.
The fiscal assumptions underlying the bill assume that there will be federal match for state investments. It is also assumed that individuals who participate in the Climate Corps Network will receive a living wage, and that the costs to host members will be reduced or offset.
It is important to center overburdened communities in policies about the transition to a climate friendly future. This bill accomplishes that.
Industry is excited about this bill. The construction sector participated in helping develop the bill and supports having a pathway to state regulated apprenticeships, and to targeting workforce development where training and supports will be needed. There could be greater focus on the transportation industry, as transportation is one of the largest drivers of climate change. Rail in particular offers a more efficient alternative; however there is not sufficient interest in engineering jobs. The bill could be improved to encourage youth interest in this sector.