The transition to a clean energy economy is well underway, not just in Vermont but across the country and the globe. Building a world powered without carbon is already creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs and demanding a growing workforce.
According to the Department of Energy’s U.S. Energy & Employment Jobs Report (USEER), in 2021, energy jobs grew 4.0% from 2020, outpacing overall U.S. employment, which climbed 2.8% in the same time period. The energy sector added more than 300,000 jobs, increasing the total number of energy jobs from 7.5 million in 2020 to more than 7.8 million in 2021. The U.S. solar industry alone already employs 255,037 workers as of 2021, according to the recently released 12th annual National Solar Jobs Census.
With demand for solar continuing to rise, ensuring this growing workforce is diverse and equitable will be critical in order to accelerate the deployment of renewables at the scale needed to address the climate crisis.
Amber Lessard, Encore’s Director of Asset Management and Construction, spoke with NBC5 recently about the importance of organizations like Vermont Works for Women and her involvement in their Trailblazer program.
One of the big things is mentorship and representation. So, when I entered this field, I didn’t see a whole lot of people who looked like me, doing what I was doing. And that was really hard, it was lonely in a way.
Once I found Vermont Works for Women, it’s like this whole new door opened where I was like ‘Oh! There are other people who are doing this type of work,’ I didn’t even see. I can see myself and relate. Then I like to pass that forward, I want to be that mentor.Amber Lessard, (August 3, 2022: NBC 5) “Renewable energy sector aims to increase diversity in the solar workforce”
Vermont Works for Women’s Trailblazers is a free training program to support the entry and success of women and gender-expansive individuals 16+ in construction and the trades. The next Trailblazers: Green training kicks off August 16th and Amber will be helping to prepare the participants for jobs in renewable energy. The curriculum includes learning solar installation basics, getting hands-on practice with the tools of the trade, and also learning about the many available jobs in the growing renewable field.