Gen Z to Power the Clean Energy Transition Thanks to New Biden Admin Program
Last week, President Biden launched a historic workforce training initiative to connect young people with skills-based training programs in clean energy and climate resilience, setting them up for good-paying careers in the economy of the future and developing the workforce America needs during the clean energy transition.
The American Climate Corps (ACC) will mobilize thousands of young people to deploy clean energy technologies nationwide, such as low-cost renewables, and energy efficiency equipment, all while matching Corps members with union apprenticeship programs to build a manufacturing workforce to support accelerated deployment. It’s a move that puts Gen Z at the heart of the clean energy transition.
And President Biden’s executive action could not come soon enough.
Propelled by the trifecta of legislation—the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act—the United States is in the midst of a clean energy transition that is catalyzing a construction and manufacturing revival.
According to Rhodium, a staggering $213 billion surged into new clean energy investments last year. What’s more is that the clean technology manufacturing sector stood out as the fastest-growing, with its annual investment surging by an impressive 125% year-on-year reaching a total of $39 billion.
And these trends show no sign of slowing down: our analysis projects nearly $1.5 trillion in additional clean energy investment just by the end of this decade. All that deployment is great news—but we need a workforce to match, and that means taking workforce development seriously. Without a robust and agile labor force, we risk stalling this engine of economic growth right as it begins to take off.
Our analysis shows that today, blue-collar workers make up around a third of the US working population— about 50 million workers, nowhere near the number we'll need to keep clean energy deployment humming. Meanwhile, in China, blue-collar workers dominate at 69% of the employed population, making up a staggering ~400 million workers.
This is where the American Climate Corps comes in. A multi-agency-led initiative, the ACC will build on our existing national service programs to create new pathways for good-paying union jobs and apprenticeships. From the installation of solar panels to heat pumps, the ACC will build a diverse workforce, united by common training and shared experiences, and well-prepared for the new clean energy economy.
In much the same spirit as FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps, which sought to preserve and protect our environment, President Biden's American Climate Corps is poised to shape the 21st-century workforce, preparing a new generation to spearhead our transition to a clean energy-driven economy. It’s an exciting investment in Gen Z—and in America’s manufacturing future, climate mitigation and resilience, and global economic competitiveness.
You can read more about the ACC and sign up to join here.