The win-win-win of solar energy, infrastructure, and jobs

by Admin 10/12/2021

From the first unveiling of the much anticipated $2 trillion climate plan from the White House, an emphasis on the workforce was clear. “When I think about climate change, the word I think of is ‘jobs’.” We couldn’t agree more. 

The Biden Administration’s solar energy and infrastructure plan presents a link between economic growth and climate action, specifically in regards to transitioning into a clean energy economy. These plans pair social and economic equity as equally important considerations, positioning people as the critical foundation for addressing an increasingly volatile climate. 

What types of jobs are in demand as part of these plans? Occupations include solar installers, wind turbine technicians, construction laborers, and environmental engineers. These clean energy jobs offer above-average wages and fewer educational barriers to entry. They present an opportunity for an inclusive, diverse workforce. 

All the same, there is an acute talent shortage to begin filling existing climate-associated job openings. Employers and policy-makers alike are concerned about supply not meeting policy demand. The construction sector alone has seen a 12% uptick in job postings since early 2020, but has yet to fill ~232,000 of those positions. 

Why has this been so challenging? For starters: 

  • The median age of construction laborers is 53, compared with 42.5 for laborers nationwide

  • Only 10% of current infrastructure workers are under 25, which suggests an inevitable issue in needing to find replacements for those aging out of physical labor

  • There’s a massive gender gap in these roles, with significant shortfalls in #skilledlabor and #STEM positions filled by women and people of color

  • Newer generations tend to see a four-year degree as the only viable path to success

This ongoing wave of retirements and resignations from the skilled labor workforce, paired with a lack of adequate attraction and development programs for prospects, means we need to attract talent from new sources.

Creating and filling these jobs will require unprecedented coordination between stakeholders, and a whole new talent infrastructure. Machine Learning won’t solve the problem alone, but AdeptID’s technology can serve as connective tissue between the efforts of employers, training providers, and workforce solutions. Using our models to identify #transferableskills and track outcomes will help these players attract, train, and retain a climate-oriented workforce.

We’re looking forward to closely following President Biden’s further workforce development as part of these policy efforts. 

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