Case Study: Sacramento Energy Sector Partnership

The Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA) received funding through the State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grant (SESP) to build a sector strategy approach to addressing the region’s emerging clean energy workforce needs. The current strategy builds on clean energy sector strategy work begun in 2006 which lead to the development of the Green Capital Action Alliance, an action team consisting of business, government, economic development organizations, colleges and universities, and the three major utilities to focus on the development of the Sacramento region as a hub for clean technology. The partnership identified needs in basic education and training, career-specific education and training, and support for newly emerging and expanding clean energy businesses. A regional study found that industry demand for training in clean energy technologies is being driven by the relocation of new companies to the region, and that employers in the energy efficiency sector are projected to increase employment substantially over the next three years, creating several thousand jobs with an energy efficiency focus. A survey of over 200 Greater Sacramento employers identified occupations expected to be in demand, and found that over 60% of employers had difficulty in hiring.

To address these challenges, the partnership is targeting training toward dislocated workers (primarily from the construction industry) in order to bridge the skill gap to meet the needs of the green building industry. Training is provided by several training partners, and there are comprehensive wrap around services such as assessments, intensive case management, soft skills classes, and GED preparation and basic skills remediation.

The Green Capital Alliance includes over 35 leaders of local green companies, and acts as the Green Employer Council for the initiative. Other partners include a variety of trade associations, and unions, as well as individual employers who have committed to hiring trainees from the program. In addition the workforce development activities, the partnership also includes components to support small and emerging businesses. For example, the Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA) provides early-stage and emerging-growth clean tech companies in the region with assistance through an advisory council; a directory of clean tech companies; regular CEO-level meetings among the companies, and confidential peer-to-peer support and guidance and Valley Vision and the Green Capital Alliance are conducting research on behalf of the small and medium sized solar manufacturing companies in the region in to aid them in accessing capital and gaining approval of innovative manufacturing processes and materials.