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California's K-12 Energy Efficiency Goes High Road

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On May 24, ECC, EC Oakland, and EC San Francisco joined PolicyLink and other labor community partners to push for high road standards on California’s new $2.5 billion energy efficiency program for K-12 schools (and possibly other public buildings). Collaborative members shared suggestions for improving the Governor’s Revised Budget and the Proposition 39 guidance document for K-12 schools prepared by the California Department of Education, the California Energy Commission, and the California Public Utilities. The recommendations seek to ensure that Proposition 39 investments achieve significant energy savings for California’s schools, reduce the state’s climate impact, and create good jobs for California’s workforce. This includes:

  1. Aggregate funds to achieve real energy savings and create good jobs. The proposed allocation plan spreads K-12 project funding too thin and minimum grants are too small.
  2. Target resources to those schools most in need.
  3. Provide good jobs for disadvantaged communities. Local education agencies should adopt responsible contractor requirements that include the use of apprentices and journey-level graduates from high-performing state-certified apprenticeship programs.
  4. Ensure accountability and reporting on Jobs. Local education agencies should track and report metrics for job quantity and job quality, including wages and benefits, along with the demographic and geographic distribution of workers, particularly those in entry level jobs.
  5. Deliver Smart Investments in the State’s Workforce. To ensure that Prop 39 investments prepare California workers, a portion of the funds should support proven training models and practices that effectively prepare Californians for careers in the emerging energy efficiency and clean energy sectors and upgrade the skills of school facilities workers Priority should be given to grant applications that include the Conservation Corps, Youth Build or other community-based bridge programs that provide disconnected youth, women, veterans and other disadvantaged populations with on-ramps to state-certified apprenticeship and other career-track good paying jobs.

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