Since its implementation in June 2021, the Clean Energy Jobs program, a public-private workforce development initiative sponsored by Newark-based Public Service Electric & Gas, has placed more than 2,200 New Jersey residents in jobs and trained more than 100 minority-owned small business owners to support the state’s fast-growing energy efficiency sector.
The program, a collaboration between PSE&G, the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development and more than 40 partnerships with public, private and community organizations, has met its goal of generating economic opportunities with a focus on unemployed, underemployed or low- and middle-income New Jersey residents.
The effort is designed to help New Jersey achieve the goals of the 2020 Energy Master Plan, which called for workforce training that advances sustainability and equity and spurs economic growth.
“The partnership with the PSE&G Clean Energy Jobs Program strikes deep into the heart of both economic and environmental justice,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “It not only showcases the talent and the skill of New Jersey, but proves that these talents and skills are found in a workforce that looks like New Jersey.”
“The program set aggressive diversity hiring targets aimed to ensure the demographic makeup of hires in clean energy are more representative of New Jersey’s population,” Waltasia Mansano, PSE&G manager of the Clean Energy Jobs program, said. “We are pleased with efforts to date, and PSE&G remains committed to assuring this transition to a clean energy economy is equitable and benefits all the residents of New Jersey.”
The first two training cohorts resulted in 24 graduates from the program’s sponsored On-the-Job Training Initiative are now being placed in a position to secure full-time clean energy jobs with businesses throughout New Jersey. The program launched its third OJT training cohort in April, with 19 candidates currently participating in a 16-week training program to prepare them for opportunities in the energy efficiency industry, and launched its fourth training cohort in late May with 24 candidates.
The Clean Energy Jobs Program also focuses on bolstering opportunities for diverse small businesses. The program helps these businesses in competing for contracts with companies throughout the state by facilitating Minority, Woman, or Veteran-owned Business Enterprise certifications.
“Meeting our goal is fantastic, but our work is not done. Our partnerships with state and community organizations will allow us to continue the work of closing the skills gap, filling much-needed roles in the clean energy space and ensuring these jobs and training programs continue to be accessible to underrepresented communities,” Mansano said.
In line with that direction, PSE&G partnered with the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey to hold master classes and provide one-on-one coaching to diverse small businesses in New Jersey, with the goal of helping them become MWVBE-certified while gaining an understanding of the PSE&G procurement process. Most recently, more than 50 organizations successfully completed the master class for the third cohort.
“The Clean Energy Jobs program has an innovative approach to help close the skills gap and was designed from the beginning to build a clean energy ecosystem that would serve not just PSE&G, but the entire state,” Karen Reif, vice president of renewables and energy solutions, PSE&G, said. “We are proud of the progress that has been made to date to create economic opportunities for New Jersey residents.”
PSE&G has earned national recognition for the program since its inception. Last year, PSE&G received a national Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative Award for successfully meeting the growing need for skilled workers in New Jersey’s energy efficiency industry via the Clean Energy Jobs program. More recently, PSE&G received the 2023 Outstanding Achievement in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Leadership Award for the program from the Association of Energy Services Professionals.