Dec. 7, 2021 - To equip Coloradans with the skills they need to obtain jobs in the growing renewable energy sector, Governor Jared Polis signed HB21-1149 into law on June 16, 2021. The bill will also help ensure that employers in the sector have the talent they need long term; it also advances one of the governor’s “Wildly Important Goals:” to transition the state to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.
The bill, informed by feedback from business, education, workforce development, and clean-energy advocates, as well as construction and electrician trade unions, has two provisions: the first requires the creation of an energy sector career pathway by the 2022-23 academic year through a collaboration between the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC), the departments of Higher Education (CDHE), Education (CDE), Natural Resources (CDNR), and Labor and Employment (CDLE), the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), and the Colorado Community College System (CCCS).
The second provision establishes the Strengthening Photovoltaic and Renewable Careers (SPARC) Workforce Development Program which will increase training, apprenticeship, and education programs designed to equip Coloradans with the skills they need to get good jobs in the energy sector. The program will be housed at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) and will allocate funding to expand training programs, in consultation with CWDC, CCCS, and the Department of Higher Education.
The bill also expands the definition of renewable-energy occupations, specifically mentioning the electric vehicle industry and green jobs. Read the full press release for an update on implementation of the legislation.