Later today, President of the Rhode Island Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed will host a roundtable discussion of the Senate’s new Legislative Action Plan entitled “Grow Green Jobs RI” and related legislation.
Currently, Rhode Island’s clean energy economy already supports 9,832 jobs across 1,295 business establishments.
In addition to the jobs created by energy efficiency program investments, there is another job creator that results from consumer savings on energy bills. When businesses and households see reduced energy costs, they are able to spend elsewhere in the economy, resulting in additional jobs. On average, this shift in spending supports about 17 jobs per $1 million.
The legislative action plan is intended to take advantage of such factors and facilitate job creation in a wide spectrum of green industries such as renewable energy, conservation, constructing environmentally sound infrastructure, agriculture, seafood, and recycling.
The recommendations in the Grow Green Jobs RI Legislative Action Plan report are listed under eight broad categories. The first one is about expanding workforce development opportunities. Recommendations under this category include an expansion of the Real Jobs RI planning and implementation grants program to include green industries.
Real Jobs RI is a recently launched demand-driven Rhode Island economic development initiative that is collaborative, flexible and business-led. The program aims to address the skills gap across various industries in Rhode Island, from manufacturing to healthcare.
The report also recommends that the Governor’s Workforce Board should create workforce training programs to support well-paying clean energy jobs, including establishing career pathways and internships to ensure accessibility at all income levels.
The second category lists recommendations related to creation of educational and training pathways for jobs in the green economy. This includes encouraging public higher education institutions to further develop degree programs leading to employment in the areas of climate change risk evaluation, sustainability, resiliency and adaptation.
Another recommendation is to encourage public higher education institutions to partner with green sector businesses to identify areas of job demand and to develop certificate and degree programs in a public report. The report also suggests Incentivizing the creation and expansion of STEM/STEAM into all Rhode Island elementary and secondary schools.
A third category deals with recommendations for supporting the growth of renewable energy industries. The report suggests incentivizing in-state generation of renewable energy by expanding the Renewable Energy Growth (REG) Program, ensuring that more jobs and the economic benefits of renewable energy stay in Rhode Island.
Another recommendation is to extend the Renewable Energy Standard (RES) that provides for annual increases in the percentage of electricity from renewable sources that National Grid supplies to its customers.
Here’s the full list of the eight categories under the Grow Green Jobs RI Legislative Action Plan:
- Expand workforce development opportunities;
- Create educational and training pathways for jobs in the green economy;
- Support the growth of renewable energy industries;
- Expand energy efficiency programs to include delivered fuels;
- Enhance the growth of renewable thermal industries;
- Reduce costs to continue the growth of Rhode Island’s solar industry;
- Expand Rhode Island’s agriculture and seafood industries; and
- Apply strategies that increase recycling and reuse, creating resources and local jobs.