The White House is launching a training program that promises to prepare 20,000 people for a range of jobs across climate tech and ecosystem restoration.
The new American Climate Corps would teach skills related to heat pump and solar panel installation, building insulation, and forest and coastline restoration, giving participants a fast-track to jobs that are already in high demand.
The program echoes the Civilian Conservation Corps launched by President Franklin Roosevelt in the depths of the Great Depression. Back then, the program hired millions to plant trees, build bridges, and construct campgrounds. The new one borrows some of those goals and adds new ones, mostly focused on energy efficiency and electrification.
“The American Climate Corps will mobilize a new, diverse generation of more than 20,000 Americans — putting them to work conserving and restoring our lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, deploying clean energy, implementing energy efficient technologies, and advancing environmental justice,” the White House said in a statement.
Startups need electricians, too
The program comes at a time when startups have been lamenting a shortage of skilled labor. The day before the American Climate Corps was announced, three founders onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt said that the labor shortfall is one of the biggest challenges facing their businesses.
“We saw this coming a while ago,” said Angelo Campus, co-founder and CEO of BoxPower. “There’s such a shortage of certified field electricians and union electricians that it was part of the decision for us to productize and prefabricate microgrids because it reduces the need for electricians in the field.”