Rep. Blunt Rochester Adds to Jobs Agenda: Introduces Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act

Washington, September 29, 2023 | Andrew Donnelly (302-893-4406)

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), introduced the Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act. The bill is the latest addition to Blunt Rochester’s comprehensive Jobs Agenda, introduced earlier this year. 


Blunt Rochester was joined in introducing the bill by Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Kevin Mullin (D-Calif.), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Deborah Ross (D-N.C.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas), Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Glenn Ivey (D-Md.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), Summer Lee (D-Pa.), Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) and Scott Peters (D-Calif.). 


The U.S. energy landscape is undergoing rapid transformation, with clean energy sources such as solar, wind, hydrogen, and more, reshaping our power grid for a cleaner and healthier environment. Building upon the momentum generated by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed last Congress, the Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act offers a strategic avenue to amplify our nation's energy workforce and boost the manufacturing sector.


“As Delaware's former Secretary of Labor, I've seen firsthand the transformative power of job opportunities and the importance of a skilled workforce. Building on the foundation of my comprehensive Jobs Agenda introduced earlier this Congress, the Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act of 2023 continues our commitment to fostering economic growth and providing pathways to success,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “This legislation represents a bridge to a more prosperous future, equipping Americans with the training they need to thrive in the evolving energy sector. Together, we'll build a workforce that's as diverse and resilient as the industries we serve.”


"The investments in research and education provided by the Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act will help us prepare the highly skilled workforce essential to a sustainable, clean energy future,” said Kelvin Lee, Ph.D., Interim Vice President for Research, Scholarship and Innovation, University of Delaware. 


“The Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce proudly endorses the 'Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act.' This bill signifies a significant opportunity to empower underrepresented communities by providing access to quality education and training in energy-related industries,” said the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce. “We believe it's a crucial step towards fostering diversity and economic growth in our region.”


“The Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act builds upon best practices in workforce development and connects to the proven WIOA model of training development and implementation, which ensures accessibility to the individuals and employers most in need of assistance.  With this legislation, existing training programs would be updated and aligned with emerging renewable energy, energy efficiency and resiliency practices; it would also provide opportunity for the development and implementation of new programs aligned with local, state, and national needs,” said Betsy Jones, Ed.D., Director of Polytech Adult Education. “ As a leader in the workforce development field, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of business and employer engagement.  With the Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act, eligible businesses will also have access to much-needed funding to upskill their existing workforce.  I believe this timely and relevant legislation will benefit adult learners in Delaware by providing on-ramps to training and employment in high-skill, in-demand occupations.”


“As a professional association of interior designers and allied design practitioners, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) gladly endorses the Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act, demonstrating ASID’s continued support of workforce development programs that invest in the training, education, and preparedness of professionals in energy-related businesses and occupations, including interior designers who are critical in the built environment to help implement sustainability-focused policies and standards,” said Lauren Earley, Esq., Associate Director of Government & Public Affairs for the American Society of Interior Designers.  “ASID’s endorsement of this legislation shows that the interior design industry plays a key role in creating resilient spaces, protecting building occupants and the public, plus encouraging sustainable practices. We look forward to collaborating with Representative Blunt Rochester on this important legislation by allowing interior designers to serve as trusted subject-matter experts on indoor air quality, reduction of hazardous materials, energy efficiency, and related matters.”


“Energy efficiency is the largest employer in the clean energy economy, representing 2,164,914 jobs in 2021” said Paula Glover, President of the Alliance to Save Energy. “The Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act is pivotal and critical to ensuring that as the workforce expands in all parts of the clean energy economy during the transition, that workforce opportunities also expand for disadvantaged communities, unemployed energy workers, and others. The Alliance to Save Energy commends Congresswoman Blunt Rochester for introducing this essential legislation to facilitate a just energy transition.”  


Key provisions of the Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development Act include:


  1. Creation of Two Energy Workforce Programs: This legislation establishes two distinct energy workforce programs—one under the Department of Energy (DOE) and the other under the Department of Labor (DOL)
  2. $75 Million for Financial & Technical Assistance: Over a span of five years, the bill authorizes $75 million for the DOE to administer financial assistance grants and provide technical support to educational institutions, workforce development boards, nonprofits, labor organizations, and apprenticeship programs.
  3. $250 Million for Job Training: Similarly, the DOL is authorized to receive $250 million over five years, providing subsidies for employee training at small energy-related businesses.
  4.  Prioritizing a Diverse Workforce: The Blue Collar and Green Collar Jobs Development Act prioritizes the education, training, and recruitment of individuals from disadvantaged communities, those facing barriers to employment, and unemployed energy workers. This focus on diversity ensures that all Americans have a chance to thrive in the growing energy sector.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about significant challenges, including the loss of 840,000 jobs within the energy sector during its first year. While the IIJA and IRA have set the stage for the industry's transformation, we must ensure that our workforce is equipped to meet these changes head-on. The Blue Collar and Green Collar Jobs Development Act of 2023 represents a crucial investment in addressing this need, fostering job growth, and promoting sustainability.


Organizations supporting the Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Act include: 


Delaware State University

University of Delaware

Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce

Energize Delaware

Delaware Workforce Development Board

Jobs for the Future

National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)

Alliance to Save Energy

National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO)

National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP)

Environmental and Energy Study Institute

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)

U.S. Green Building Council

Federal Performance Contracting Coalition (FPCC)

American Society of Interior Designers

International Facility Management Association

Polytech Adult Education

Clean Fuel Foundation 

American Institute of Architects



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