BOSTON – The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) today released Powering the Future: A Massachusetts Clean Energy Workforce Needs Assessment. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of the clean energy workforce needed to meet the state’s 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, seen through regional, occupational, and equity lenses. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and establishing a course to net zero emissions by 2050 will require the Commonwealth to add more than 38,000 clean energy workers by the end of the decade, growing the current clean energy workforce of 104,000 workers by 37 percent.
“The clean energy revolution will be powered by the people of Massachusetts, from heat pump installers in Amherst to electricians in Somerset,” said Governor Maura Healey. “This report gives us a clear path to follow to strengthen our workforce. Our administration has already made great strides in clean energy workforce development through our Clean Energy Pathway, MassTalent, and other initiatives. With this roadmap in hand, we are on our way to fostering a diverse talent pool creating a cleaner future and driving economic opportunity for all Massachusetts residents.”
The report details that 140 occupations will see job increases and 20 of these occupations will account for 65 percent of jobs added, underscoring the need for strategic workforce planning. Like many other industries, clean energy employers are struggling with the fallout from the pandemic and hiring challenges amid historically low unemployment and shrinking labor force participation rates. Building increasingly robust and diverse clean energy workforce pipelines can prevent shortages in trained workers from derailing critical climate goals and advance opportunities across our state.
“Careers in clean energy represent prosperous, family-sustaining opportunities for Massachusetts workers,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “This report is a powerful tool for informed planning and decision-making. With a focus on training, inclusivity, and collaboration between partners in government, industry, labor, and education, we will drive the clean energy industry forward, creating a sustainable and resilient future for Massachusetts.”
Growing awareness is a crucial first step to catalyzing workforce growth, but the report also emphasizes the importance of the Administration’s commitment to affordable and accessible community college, expanded coordination with organized labor, and ongoing support for technical secondary education in securing a path to meet workforce and climate goals.
“Whenever I speak with young people who want to make a difference, I tell them that the heroes of the clean energy transition will be electricians, plumbers, and builders,” said EEA Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “Exposure to these valuable careers to students at younger ages will place them on successful paths of upward growth. We have the knowledge, tools, and passion to strategically build the skilled workforce necessary to achieve our ambitious decarbonization goals, and this report tells us on what sectors we can focus our efforts.”
New clean energy jobs will not only help us meet our climate goals but also create increased economic opportunity statewide, adding living-wage jobs with a median wage of over $36 dollars per hour, using today’s dollars. The report details opportunities for rapid growth across many sectors and 45 percent of clean energy jobs in 2030 will be in construction, installation, maintenance, and repair occupations, with electricians forecasted to account for the greatest additional need across a single occupation. Importantly, pathways into many of these high-demand occupations do not require college degrees.
“Massachusetts has an opportunity to lead the country on clean energy and climate and make our economy stronger and more competitive while doing so,” said Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao. “This report demonstrates the importance of investing in workforce development programs and training to fuel our future clean energy economy and help our state reach its ambitious climate goals.”
This report underlines the importance of a just transition and calls for inclusive practices in the clean energy industry. Further, it highlights the need to attract, train, and support diverse candidates to meet demand, drive equitable growth, and expand opportunities for residents of Environmental Justice neighborhoods and other underrepresented populations. Additionally, careful planning and coordination are necessary to ensure a smooth transition for current fossil fuel workers.
“The Healey-Driscoll Administration is committed to building a robust talent pipeline that is skilled and ready to meet the needs of the state’s growing clean energy industry," said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Lauren Jones. "This report connects the Commonwealth’s climate goals with workforce projections and will be critical to informing our MassTalent initiative. We will continue to work collaboratively with partnering organizations to unlock the potential of diverse talent today and in the future.”
The findings and recommendations of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Workforce Needs Assessment will guide program design within MassCEC and serve as a valuable resource for state and regional partners, training providers, employers, and other stakeholders. The report will also serve to guide the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s MassTalent initiative, which will act as a front door for companies to access multiple talent pipelines in high-growth industries like life sciences, clean energy and advanced manufacturing. It streamlines government resources to allow employers and jobseekers to tap into Massachusetts’ thriving ecosystem, world-class talent, and robust infrastructure to accelerate their success.
“Effective clean energy workforce programming is responsive to workers’ needs and enables them to create a solid foundation upon which to build a promising career,” said MassCEC CEO Jennifer Daloisio. “MassCEC is proud of our successful workforce programs that tackle historic barriers to entry, bring underserved communities in, and ensure that residents across Massachusetts feel ownership in the clean energy transition. We look forward to expanding on our legacy of supporting and developing diverse and passionate talent, enabling them to participate fully in this industry.”
MassCEC has a strong track record of effective collaboration with partners in government and communities, working to implement responsive workforce development strategies. Over the years, MassCEC has successfully connected clean energy companies with over 5,400 interns through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Internship Program, fostering a pipeline of diverse talent. Furthermore, MassCEC dedicates over $12 million annually to Equity Workforce Development programming, supporting training and business development opportunities for underrepresented populations.
The full Massachusetts Clean Energy Workforce Needs Assessment can be found here on MassCEC’s website. For further resources on clean energy careers, including pathways and training information, please visit CleanEnergyEducation.org.
“The Commonwealth's energy transition starts and ends with our workers,” said State Representative Jeffrey N. Roy, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. “MassCEC's assessment presents not an obstacle, but an opportunity for strategic state action to create 21st-century clean energy jobs amid real-world labor challenges. To meet the pace and scale that the climate crisis demands, we must rapidly ramp up workforce development and invite thousands of current and future workers into high-quality careers, many of which don't require the financial commitment of a college degree.”
“To my mind, this excellent report underscores a big-picture truth: Massachusetts needs a plan to attract move-ins, from other states and even from abroad. When you place the workforce needs documented so effectively here alongside the findings of other studies concerning labor shortages in healthcare, home care, and early childhood education, it’s hard to draw any other conclusion,” said State Senator Mike Barrett, Senate Chair of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. “We need to attract a slew of workers to fill jobs, and I don’t see how we meet our greenhouse gas reduction limits otherwise.”
MassCEC is a state economic development agency dedicated to accelerating the growth of the clean energy sector across the Commonwealth to spur job creation, deliver statewide environmental benefits and to secure long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts. MassCEC works to increase the adoption of clean energy while driving down costs and delivering financial, environmental, and economic development benefits to energy users and utility customers across the state.