Location:
BROWNFIELDS; ENERGY CONSERVATION; ENERGY - RENEWABLE RESOURCES; JOB DEVELOPMENT;
Scope:
Connecticut laws/regulations; Background;

OLR Research Report


September 2, 2011

 

2011-R-0313

STATE INITIATIVES TO PROMOTE GREEN JOBS

By: Kevin McCarthy, Principal Analyst

Lee R. Hansen, Legislative Analyst II

You asked for a description of state initiatives to promote “green jobs.” This report focuses on current initiatives to promote jobs in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and brownfield redevelopment, including education and training programs. It also discusses provisions in PA 11-80, which establishes many energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

SUMMARY

There is no single definition of green jobs. The Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University defines them to include jobs that (1) preserve, restore, or improve the environment or (2) help save energy, advance new energy efficient technologies, or foster a more sustainable regional and national energy system.

The state has a wide range of initiatives to promote such jobs. Most are programs that encourage demand for “green” products and services, e.g., energy efficiency audits, incentives for installing renewable energy systems, and the redevelopment of contaminated sites. Other initiatives include  tax exemptions for efficiency products, the statutory requirement that electric companies and competitive electric suppliers get part of their power from renewable resources, and liability protection for people who remediate brownfields. The state also has education and training programs and policies to increase the supply of workers in green industries.

Several of Connecticut's “green job” initiatives began with the passage of PA 98-28, which opened the electric industry to competition. The act established funding mechanisms for efficiency and renewable energy programs and required electric companies and competitive suppliers to get part of their power from renewable resources.  It also required the companies and suppliers to net meter customers who install renewable energy systems, giving them a credit against their electric bills for the power these systems produce.

Many of the efficiency and renewable energy programs are supported by the Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy funds. The Energy Efficiency Fund helps residents, businesses, and institutions reduce the amount of energy they use. The Clean Energy Fund supports the development and deployment of clean energy technologies such as photovoltaics and fuel cells.

PA 11-80 creates several new energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, including programs to provide financial incentives to replace inefficient heating equipment and promote in state renewable energy resources. It expands the resources that can go into the Clean Energy Fund to include private capital and revenues reallocated to the fund by the legislature. It also expands the types of projects the fund can support to include electric and natural gas vehicle infrastructure, electricity storage, and the financing of energy efficiency measures.

Another major category of green jobs are those associated with brownfield redevelopment. “Brownfield” is the popular term for abandoned or underutilized parcels that are, or are believed to be, environmentally contaminated. Remediating and decontaminating these parcels holds the potential for many green jobs, and the state has developed numerous funding programs, liability protections, and regulatory relief to help ease concerns about the costs and liability of remediation that can be a strong deterrent to potential land developers. 

Educating and training workers for green jobs occurs primarily through either the state's schools, colleges, and universities or the Connecticut Green Jobs Partnership which runs green job training programs through the state's regional workforce investment boards.  In recent years, the General Assembly passed legislation to help encourage students to train for green jobs and to better align the education system with the needs of a green workforce.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

A number of programs and tax exemptions encourage the use of energy efficiency technologies, which can encourage sales of “green” products and create “green” jobs.

Programs

The Energy Efficiency Fund is primarily supported by a surcharge on electric bills. In recent years, this money has been supplemented with the proceeds of emission credits sold under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, federal grants under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and other sources. Similarly, the conservation adjustment mechanism on natural gas bills is the primary funding source for gas conservation measures through the fund.

Among the fund's residential initiatives is the Home Energy Solutions (HES) program. In this program, a specialist comes to the customer's home to perform an energy assessment, find and seal critical air leaks, replace incandescent bulbs with compact florescent lamps, and provide water conservation devices, among other things. Low- and moderate income households are eligible for additional services at no charge. In addition to the HES weatherization services, households may qualify for rebates for insulation and energy-efficient appliances, including Energy Star refrigerators. This component of the program is open to households with incomes up to 60% of the state median income, adjusted for household size. For a three-person household, the limit is $51,228; for a two-person household it is $41,470.

In addition to these utility-administered programs, the Connecticut Housing Investment Fund administers loan programs for energy efficiency projects in single- and multi-family housing. The programs, which received their initial funding through bonding, are described at www.chif.org.

There are also a number of utility programs targeted at business and institutional customers. These include the Small Business Energy Advantage Program, in which a utility contractor conducts a free energy assessment of a business to determine potential energy-saving actions. The utility works with the contractor to prepare a proposal detailing the proposed measures, the estimated energy savings, and the complete cost. The program uses financial incentives to offset the project's cost and 0% financing options, for qualified customers, to cover the balance.  Commercial, industrial, and municipal electric and gas company customers are eligible for assistance with retrofit projects under the Energy Opportunities Program. The projects can include heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; lighting; refrigeration; and water heating equipment. The program identifies energy-saving equipment opportunities. It offers financial incentives, which may include low-interest rate financing, to help the customer evaluate the choice between maintaining older, inefficient equipment or replacing it with a high-efficiency option.

Further information about the Energy Efficiency Fund is available at http://ctsavesenergy.org/.

Tax Exemptions

CGS 12-412k exempts residential energy efficiency products from the sales tax. The eligible products include compact fluorescent lights, programmable thermostats, window film, caulking, window and door weather strips, insulation, and water heater blankets. The law also exempts from the sales tax:

1. water heaters and natural gas and propane furnaces and boilers that meet the federal Energy Star standard;

2. windows and doors that meet the federal Energy Star standard;

3. oil furnaces and boilers that are at least 84% efficient; and

4. ground-source heat pumps that meet the minimum federal energy efficiency rating.

CGS 12-412 exempts from the sale tax:

1. materials, tools, fuel, machinery, and equipment used in a fuel cell manufacturing facility; and

2. solar energy electricity generating systems, solar water or space heating systems, and geothermal resource systems, as well as equipment related to these systems and related installation services.

RENEWABLE ENERGY

A number of programs, tax exemptions, and other policies encourage the use of renewable energy.

Programs

The Clean Energy Fund supports a wide range of renewable energy programs, encouraging growth in renewable energy supply and demand.  PA 98-28 authorized the fund to support several technologies, including solar energy, wind, fuel cells, and landfill gas. Subsequent legislation specifically allows the fund to (1) invest in solar thermal energy and (2) be used for demonstration projects for advanced technologies that reduce energy use from traditional sources.  It also allows the fund to invest in (1) alternative fuel used for electric generation, including ethanol, biodiesel, or certain other fuels; (2) geothermal energy; and (3) hydropower that meets the low-impact standards of the Low-Impact Hydropower Institute. Further information about the Clean Energy Fund is available at www.ctcleanenergy.com. As of July 1, 2011, the Clean Energy Fund came under the jurisdiction of the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), created by PA 11-80.  

Tax Exemptions

 

The state exempts solar electric and space and water heating technologies and related equipment and installation services from the sales tax (CGS 12-412). It requires municipalities to exempt from the property tax solar electric technologies installed in one- to four-unit residential buildings on or after October 1, 2007.  It also requires municipalities to exempt any passive or active solar water or space heating system installed in any type of building at any time (CGS 12-81).

The same law also exempts from the sales tax items used in the renewable and clean energy technology industries, including those that produce, improve, or develop solar energy electricity generating systems and passive or active solar water or space heating systems. The exemption applies to machines, equipment, tools, materials, supplies, and fuel sold, stored, used, or consumed in these industries.

Net Metering

 

Connecticut's net metering law (CGS 16-243h) encourages electric company customers to install renewable technologies by providing a rate subsidy. It requires the electric companies and competitive suppliers to purchase the power produced by these technologies with generating capacity up to two megawatts (the amount of power needed to serve between 1,500 and 2,000 homes).

If a customer supplies more electricity from these technologies to the electric distribution system than the company delivers to the customer, the company must credit the customer for the excess by reducing the customer's bill for the next monthly billing period to compensate for the excess power produced by the customer in the previous billing period. (In effect, the meter runs backwards for the excess power produced.) The company must carry over the credits earned from one monthly billing period to the next. If there are still credits at the end of the billing year, the company must pay for them at its wholesale cost for power.

NEW PROGRAMS UNDER PA 11-80

This act creates DEEP by merging the departments of Environmental Protection and Public Utility Control. The act also transfers various energy-related responsibilities and powers from the Office of Policy and Management to DEEP and gives DEEP new energy-related planning and oversight responsibilities.

Energy Efficiency

The act establishes programs to finance the replacement of inefficient residential heating equipment and provide financial incentives for such replacement equipment and combined heat and power (cogeneration) systems.

The act requires DEEP to develop a plan to reduce energy use in state-owned or -leased buildings at least 10% from its current consumption by January 1, 2013 and by an additional 10% by July 1, 2018. It explicitly authorizes state agencies and municipalities to enter into energy saving performance contracts. It requires the Energy Conservation Management Board to develop standardized performance contracting procedures and authorizes municipalities to use these procedures or ones they develop themselves.

Renewable Energy

The act expands the resources that can go into the Clean Energy Fund to include private capital and revenues reallocated to the fund by the legislature. It also expands the types of projects the fund can support to include electric and natural gas vehicle infrastructure, electricity storage, and the financing of energy efficiency.

The act creates CEFIA to administer the fund, in place of Connecticut Innovations, Inc.  It requires CEFIA to (1) develop separate programs to finance and otherwise support clean energy investment in residential, municipal, small business, and larger commercial projects, and other projects as it determines; (2) stimulate demand for clean energy and the deployment of clean energy sources in the state that serve end-use customers here; and (3) support financing or other expenditures that promote investment in clean energy sources in accordance with a comprehensive plan it develops to foster the growth, development, and commercialization of clean energy sources and related enterprises.

Under the act, CEFIA must establish a program to promote residential photovoltaic systems under which participants can choose to receive an up-front payment or a payment tied to the power the systems produce.

Under the act, electric companies must enter into long-term contracts to buy renewable energy credits from zero-emission generators (e. g., solar, wind, hydro). The act establishes a similar program for low-emission technologies.

Combined Programs

The act requires DEEP to develop a comprehensive plan integrating current efficiency and renewable energy plans. It allows municipalities to establish a loan program to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and to recover costs by an assessment on the benefitted property.

The act additionally allows the Clean Energy Fund to:

1. finance energy efficiency projects;

2. support projects that seek to deploy electric, hybrid, natural gas, or alternative fuel vehicles and associated infrastructure and any related storage, transmission, distribution, manufacturing technologies or facilities; and

3. provide low-cost financing for the above projects and clean energy technologies.

Prior law required the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA) to establish the Green Connecticut Loan Guaranty Fund to help finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for individuals, non-profit organizations, and small businesses. The act transfers the responsibility for administering the program from CHEFA to CEFIA. It requires CEFIA to:

1. ensure that this program integrates with existing state energy efficiency and renewable energy programs and

2. establish program performance targets to ensure sufficient participation in the secondary financial markets and to coordinate with existing financing programs to enable efficiency improvements for at least 15% of state single-family homes by 2020.

BROWNFIELD REDEVELOPMENT

Remediating brownfields offers the potential for many green jobs and the state has created numerous funding programs, tax incentives, liability protections, and regulatory relief to help encourage brownfield redevelopment. Many of these are specifically tailored to projects that will generate significant economic activity or create jobs. They are primarily administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the Department of Energy and DEEP, but the Connecticut Development Authority (CDA), a quasi-public state agency, also operates brownfield funding programs through it subsidiary, the Connecticut Brownfield Remediation Authority (CBRA). For more detailed information on the state's brownfield programs see OLR Report 2011-R-0240.

Funding Programs

Table 1 shows state brownfield remediation funding programs that are available to help developers pay for the cost of remediating contaminated sites.

Table 1: State Brownfield Remediation Funding Programs

Program and Statutory Cite

Administering Agency

Description

Urban Sites Remedial Action Program (CGS 22a-133m)

DECD/ DEEP

Funding for identifying and remediating contaminated sites with commercial potential in distressed municipalities, targeted investment communities, or state-acquired properties.

Special Contaminated Properties Remediation And Insurance Fund (SCPRIF) (CGS 22a-133t and -133u)

DECD/ DEEP

Low-interest, five-year loans to towns, businesses, and developers to assess sites, demolish structures, or remediate pollution.

Municipal Brownfield Grant Program (CGS 32-9cc)

This was originally a pilot program. As of July 1, 2011, PA 11-141 ( 1-3) makes the program permanent and makes other changes to it.

DECD

Grants for towns (or their economic development agencies) with untreated brownfields that hinder economic development.

Innocent third party designation for participants, protecting them from liability to DEEP for clean-up costs if they meet specified requirements (see below).

Targeted Brownfield Development Loan Program (CGS 32-9kk(f))

DECD

Low-interest loans (up to $2 million per year for two years) to applicants seeking to develop property for retaining or expanding jobs in the state or developing housing for first-time home buyers. Loans can be for manufacturing, retail, residential, or mixed-use developments, expansions, or reuses.

Loan proceeds can be used for any purpose, including site investigation, assessment, remediation, and abatement.

Dry Cleaning Establishment Remediation Fund

(CGS 12-263m)

DECD

Grants to dry cleaning business owners or operators, or owners of sites previously occupied by dry cleaning establishments, for containment, removal, mitigation, or prevention of environmental pollution.

Economic Development and Manufacturing Assistance Act – Environmental Insurance Program

(CGS 32-222)

DECD

Funds for purchasing insurance policies and paying deductibles for insurance policies to cover remediation costs.

Underground Storage Tank Petroleum Clean-up Program (CGS 22a-449a et seq.)

DEEP

Reimburses responsible parties for remediation costs they incur because of leaking diesel and gasoline fuel tanks.

Connecticut Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund (40 C.F.R. Part 31)

DECD

Grants or loans for environmental clean-up of non-residential properties.

CT EPA Site Assessment Program (40 C.F.R. Part 31)

DECD

Funds for environmental assessment and preparation of a work plan so that remediation and redevelopment can occur.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) (CGS 8-134, 8-134a, and 32-23zz)

CBRA/ CDA

CDA-issued bonds backed by incremental property tax revenues for cleaning up and redeveloping brownfield projects.

PA 11-103 eliminated the sunset date for this program.

Direct Loans (CGS 32-11a)

CBRA/ CDA

Senior and subordinated loans for specified purposes, including brownfield remediation and redevelopment.

Loan Guarantees (CGS 32-11a and -22b)

CBRA/ CDA

Loan guarantees to help private-sector lenders meet their borrower's financing requirements. Available for specified purposes, including brownfield remediation and redevelopment.

Environmental Assistance Revolving Loan Fund (CGS 32-23qq)

CDA

Grants, loans, and loan guarantees for remediating and developing contaminated properties.

Tax Incentives

Table 2 shows the state tax incentive programs that are available to help defray the cost of remediating contaminated sites.

Table 2: State Brownfield Remediation Tax Benefit Programs

Program and Statutory Cite

Agency

Description

Urban and Industrial Sites Reinvestment (UISR) Tax Credit (CGS 32-9t)

DECD

Up to $100 million in corporate business tax credits over a 10-year period to businesses that build, expand, or rehabilitate new facilities.

Property Tax Abatement or Forgiveness Program (CGS 12-81r)

Not applicable

Towns can (1) forgive back taxes on potentially contaminated abandoned properties, (2) abate the taxes on remediated sites, and (3) fix the assessment of a property as of the last assessment date before the clean-up activities began.

Property Tax Assessment Deferral (CGS 12-65e)

Not applicable

Effective October 1, 2011, towns can defer an increased property tax assessment on a property in a designated rehabilitation area if the property is a brownfield site.


Liability Protection

In addition to providing funds for investigating and remediating brownfields, the state provides liability protection to developers who do not receive funds, but still perform these tasks according to state standards.  This protection varies depending on whether it applies to state or third party actions or extends to parties that subsequently acquire a property remediated under these programs. 

Table 3 shows the programs that help protect developers from some of the liabilities that might otherwise discourage them from remediating and developing contaminated sites.  For the first five listed, developers must apply to receive the protection and submit to an investigation and certification process.  The last two programs listed are automatically available to those who qualify.

Table 3: State Brownfield Remediation Liability Protection

Program

Administering Agency

Description

Abandoned Brownfield Cleanup (ABC) Program (CGS 32-9ll, as amended by PA 11-141, 9-11)

DECD

Exempts participants from investigating and remediating contamination that emanated from the property before they acquired it.

Liability Protection Program (New) (PA 11-141, 17)

DECD

Protects from liability to the state and third parties for cleaning up brownfields according to specified procedure; limited to 32 brownfields per year.

Voluntary Remediation Program for Property Located on Contaminated Ground Water (CGS 22a-133y)

DEEP

Allows a licensed environmental professional (LEP) employed by a municipality pursuing voluntary site remediation to enter the property to investigate without liability.

Municipal Brownfield Program, Innocent Third Party Status (CGS 32-9ee)

DECD

Protects program participants from liability to DEEP for clean-up costs.

Protection from Liability when Acquiring Municipally Remediated Property (CGS 32-9dd)

DEEP

Protects parties acquiring municipally remediated brownfields from liability to DEEP.

Third Party Liability Protection (CGS 22a-133ee

DEEP

Protects developers from liability to third parties (but not the government) for contamination that existed when the developers acquired the property.

Regulatory Exemptions

Besides providing liability protection, the law also offers brownfield owners relief from various regulatory requirements. As Table 4 shows, these range from exemptions from DEEP fees and the Transfer Act to the use of licensed environmental professionals and covenants not to sue.

Table 4: Brownfield Remediation Regulatory Exemption Policies

Policy

Administering Agency

Description

Fee Exemptions (New) (CGS 22a-6, as amended by PA 11-141, 8)

DEEP

State, municipal, and private organizations are exempt from paying DEEP fees for permits needed to remediate brownfields.

Certifying Party's Responsibility Under Transfer Act (PA 11-141, 4, codified at CGS 22a-134a)

DEEP

A party certifying that it will investigate and potentially clean up a contaminated property under the Transfer Act is exempt from investigating and remediating contamination that occurs after it cleaned up a brownfield.

Transfer Act Exemptions for Private Entities (CGS 22a-134, as amended by PA 11-141, 10)

DEEP

The law sets conditions exempting specified parties acquiring brownfields from complying with the Transfer Act's reporting requirements.

PA 11-141 added to these conditions:

1. title transfers from a municipality or bankruptcy court to nonprofit organizations,

2. property participating in the Liability Protection Program, and

3. property remediated under DECD's Municipal Brownfield Program.

Licensed Environmental Professionals (CGS 22a-133v)

DEEP

DEEP program licensing LEPs allows a property owner to speed up the remediation process by hiring a private LEP (instead of a DEEP official) to investigate and remediate contaminated property.

Interim Verification under the Transfer Act (CGS 22a-134)

DEEP

1. When brownfield contamination affects groundwater, LEPs (instead of a DEEP official) may certify to DEEP that:

2. the soil has been remediated according to its standards,

3. the ground water is being remediated under a long-term remedy, and

4. there is no pathway allowing polluted ground water to escape

Environmental Use Restriction (EUR) Waivers (CGS 22a-133o, as amended by PA 11-141, 12)

DEEP

An EUR is an easements recorded in land records prohibiting specific uses or activities harmful to human health and environment.

PA 11-141:

1. requires the DEEP commissioner to permit an EUR to be recorded without the agreement of other parties with an interest in the property if the EUR has little or no effect on their interest and

2. allows the DEEP commissioner to temporarily suspend EUR restrictions without requiring full remediation for temporary releases.

Regulated Activities in Aquifer Protection Areas (CGS 22a-354h)

DEEP

Regulated activities are allowed in aquifer protection areas if they:

1. are being conducted on municipally-owned site undergoing remediation and

2. did not substantially begin, or actively operate for five years before the area's designation as protected.

Also, anyone conducting the activity for 10 years must register it on DEEP form.

Covenants Not to Sue (CGS 22a-133aa to 22a-133bb)

DEEP

An agreement can exempt parties from further remediation if they initially remediated the property according to DEEP standards and subsequently discovered more contamination.

A party qualifies if it:

1. did not contaminate the property or was not involved with the party that did and

2. agrees to clean up and redevelop the property.

Redeveloping Mills in Floodplains (CGS 25-68d)

DEEP

Agencies can use or allow others to use mills on contaminated floodplain sites without certifying that the project meets specified criteria.

The use or activity must:

1. meet DEEP standards,

2. be limited to site of mill's historic use, and

3. comply with National Flood Insurance Program.

Residential structures must be above the 500-year flood elevation.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Educating and training workers for green jobs occurs primarily through either the state's schools, colleges, and universities or through the Connecticut Green Jobs Partnership which, through the state's regional workforce investment boards, runs green job training programs and help workers find green training and employment opportunities. In recent years, the General Assembly passed legislation to encourage students to receive education for green jobs and to better align the education system with the needs of employers looking for workers to fill green jobs.

K-12 Education Programs

Although the state's Department of Education has incorporated “alternative energy sources” into the 9th grade core science curriculum, green job related education occurs mostly at the state's technical high school system.  Most specifically, Grasso Technical High School in Groton offers a bioscience environmental technology program.  Construction trade students at several technical schools have also worked with a program funded by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund to build “E-houses” which feature renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

Through its Learning for Clean Energy program, the Clean Energy Fund also sponsors professional development courses for teachers in solar and wind energy education.  The fund also sponsors the Clean Energy Climate Solutions program, which is a three-step initiative aimed at testing, evaluating, and adapting educational materials that will teach elementary and secondary school students about clean energy as an important solution to climate change.

Higher Education

The state's higher education institutions train workers for green jobs by offering individual courses, minors, and majors that are directly related to green jobs (i.e. environmental science and environmental engineering) or are indirectly related (i.e. chemical and electrical engineering).  They have also established centers or institutes focusing on renewable energy and energy efficiency and offer community college certificate courses in green jobs. 

Established in 2001, the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University focuses on matters relating to energy education, energy policy, energy conservation and load management, renewable energy, distributed generation, protection of environmental resources, and the dissemination of useful information on energy alternatives and sustainability to users and providers of energy.  It is funded and supported mainly by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund through the Energy Conservation Management Board and the Public Utility Regulatory Authority. For more information about the institute, please visit http://nutmeg.easternct.edu/sustainenergy/.

The institute offers training in building inspector energy code standards.  With funding from the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, it also maintains ctenergyeducation.com, a website that provides curriculum resources on energy topics in the state's high school curriculum.  

The UConn Center for Clean Energy Engineering trains students for careers in green energy related engineering careers and also conducts research on advanced energy conversion technologies, fuels and fuel processing, energy storage, power management, smart grids, and conservation of natural resources.  As a public-private partnership, the center receives funding from numerous sources, including United

Technologies Corporation, Rolls Royce, and the U.S. Department of Energy.  The center offers a Masters of Engineering degree and also allows some undergraduate students to work on its research projects. 

At the community college level, aspiring green workers can obtain a credit certificate through the Sustainable Operations: Alternative and Renewable Energy Initiative (SOAR).  Funded by a three-year, $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, SOAR offers eight different certificate programs which are individually offered at five of the state's community colleges.  It also includes five regional coordinators who provide academic and career counseling and train career center staff and high school counselors about SOAR programs.  By 2012, the program hopes to have graduated 320 students.

The SOAR credit certificates can be earned over the course of two full-time semesters, or longer, if necessary.  The certificates can be obtained in:

1. alternative energy transportation (Gateway CC, North Haven Campus);

2. clean water management (Gateway CC, North Haven Campus);

3. solar technology (Gateway CC, North Haven Campus);

4. sustainable energy (Manchester CC in Manchester);

5. alternative energy systems technology (Naugatuck Valley CC in Waterbury);

6. building efficiency and sustainable technology (Norwalk CC in Norwalk);

7. sustainable facilities management (Three Rivers CC in Norwalk); and

8. sustainable landscape ecology and conservation technician (Three Rivers Community College in Norwalk).

CT Green Jobs Partnership

Since being awarded a $3.4 million State Energy Sector Partnership (SESP) grant in 2009, the Connecticut Green Jobs Partnership oversees a variety of green workforce development initiatives funded by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  Formerly known as the Green Jobs Council, the partnership is comprised of representatives from the state's workforce investment boards, technical high schools, trade unions, businesses, state agencies, community colleges and advocates for green policies.  It is administratively within the Office of Workforce Competiveness, which has recently been merged into the state's Labor Department. 

The partnership oversees several training programs for green jobs which are administered through the state's regional workforce investment boards.  The Capital Workforce Partners, in particular, has created a green jobs sector initiative which includes a green jobs industry sector regional plan for implementing strategies to build the green economy in north central Connecticut.  Table 5 shows the training programs that are currently available through the regional boards.

Table 5: Green Job Training Available Through Regional Workforce Boards

Regional Board

Training Program

Description

Capital Workforce Partners

Green Construction Jobs Funnel

Trains participants in areas such as energy efficiency, weatherization and clean water; coordinates with “jobs funnel” to direct workers who have been trained to contractors working on ARRA funded weatherization projects.

Eastern CT Workforce Investment Board

Incumbent Worker Training

Internship Program

Helps fund training of employees of green businesses; training must result in increased wages, increased responsibility, or title upgrade for employee; employer must pay at least 50% of cost of training.

Partners with businesses to provide hands-on experience in energy efficiency, renewable energy, or environmental protection careers.

Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board

Weatherization Assistant Program

Brownfield Job Training Program

Eight day training program to become a certified weatherization technician; jobs funnel placement with contractors working on ARRA weatherization projects.

Eight-week training program funded by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to become an environmental field technician.

The Workplace (Southwestern CT)

Weatherization Training Program

Green-Up Bridgeport

Provides free access to education, training, and services that will help lead to weatherization jobs; offers classes for weatherization training, building performance analyst, and OSHA safety training.

Provides green job training to unemployed Bridgeport residents.

Workforce Alliance (South Central CT)

Weekly Green Economy Workshops

Incumbent Worker Training

Provides overview of green skills and participants work with case managers to identify training needs and connect to services, grants to pay for training, and eventually jobs.

Helps fund training of employees of green businesses; training must result in increased wages, increased responsibility, or title upgrade for employee; employer must pay at least 50% of cost of training.

Recent Legislation

CGS 10a-19i, as amended by PA 11-140, authorizes student loan reimbursements for Connecticut residents graduating from public colleges and universities, based on their educational fields, subsequent occupations, and incomes. Among other things, residents qualify for reimbursements if they graduate from a Connecticut college or university on or after May 1, 2010 with a degree related to green technology. The graduates qualify for reimbursement if they (1) work for at least two years in Connecticut after graduation in a business related to an eligible field and (2) have federal adjusted gross incomes of up to $150,000 in the year before the initial reimbursement year.

The reimbursements apply to federal and state student loans (no state loans are currently available).  The amount depends on a resident's degree. A resident with a bachelor's degree qualifies for reimbursements of up to $2,500 per year or 5% of the loan amounts, whichever is less, for up to four years. A resident with an associate's degree qualifies for the same amount, but only for up to two years. The act caps the total value of reimbursements a resident can receive under the act and any other state program. The cap is $10,000 for residents holding a bachelor's degree and $5,000 for those holding an associate's degree.

PA 10-156 requires higher education institutions in Connecticut to (1) publicize green technology initiatives in higher education and (2) collaborate in furthering these initiatives.  It requires the Department of Higher Education, in consultation with the Department of Education, to develop annually and publish on its website (1) a list of every green jobs course and academic program in a public higher education institution or a regional vocational-technical school in the state and (2) an inventory of green jobs-related equipment in these schools. Additionally, the act requires the Community-Technical Colleges (CTC) Board of Trustees to have uniformly named green jobs academic programs in the CTC system.  The act also requires institutions to (1) hold meetings to explore possible ways to collaborate on green initiatives and (2) support efforts to develop career ladders in the green technology industry.

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