During a roundtable event in Newark March 27, First Lady Tammy Murphy and Jane Cohen, executive director of the Council on the Green Economy, announced the recipients of the Green Job Council’s $5 million Building Our Resilient, Inclusive, and Diverse Green Economy (NJ BRIDGE) initiative grant award.
The program was a recommendation in the 2022 Green Jobs for a Sustainable Future report, with the $5 million in funding to go toward organizations with innovative approaches to building and supporting a diverse, inclusive green workforce for New Jerseyans.
Murphy said she is thrilled to recognize the recipients, whose contributions catalyze and support successful models to expand green economy opportunities for communities around the state.
“The threat of the climate crisis is serious and there is no doubt we have already begun to feel its effects, but we are on our way to making significant changes that will help us mitigate its worst effects all while growing our economy, creating jobs, and helping us reach our social goals,” said Murphy.
The recipients include:
“These organizations exemplify the crucial role that job training plays in advancing the Council on the Green Economy’s goals. Supporting organizations that prioritize diversity and inclusion in the green economy workforce not only promotes social justice in communities across our state, but also brings fresh perspectives and innovation to address the issue of climate change,” said Cohen. “By prioritizing opportunities for underserved communities to develop the skills needed for green economy jobs, we can build a more equitable and sustainable future for all.”
The recipients say that the funding will help them in a number of ways.
“From transportation assistance, to financial counseling that helps clean up debts and set budget goals for things like homeownership, the grant Isles receives today from Gov. [Phil] Murphy will help us accomplish all these goals,” said Andre Thomas, Isles’ training manager.
“The offshore wind industry is a job creator that will need skilled, professional, and safe construction workers, that a union apprenticeship program can provide better than anyone else,” said Rob Smith, executive training director, Eastern Atlantic States Carpenters Technical College. “This grant will assist in our joint effort of exposing a new generation of construction workers to the complexity of skills needed to be successful in the offshore and green jobs workforce.”
“Funding from this opportunity will allow the college to recruit, prepare and train individuals from diverse backgrounds for the emerging green energy jobs in the wind and water industries,” said Brendan Rickards, provost and vice president of academic services, Rowan College of South Jersey. “This funding will help relieve financial burdens for individuals in training and will allow for paid training opportunities in green energy throughout the region.”
“We look forward to using this BRIDGE grant award to introduce even more New Jersey residents to career paths in solar installation through our STEP-UP program,” said Kate Gold, director of community engagement for Solar Landscape.
“This grant will allow the South Ward Environmental Alliance and Clinton Hill Community Action to introduce and expand green job opportunities for South Ward residents as a result of the collaboration with our partners and set a standard for implementing green infrastructure projects, train residents to become solar installers and engage local businesses to help see the return on investment for going green, in Newark and across the State of New Jersey,” said Kim Gaddy, founder and director, South Ward Environmental Alliance; board of directors; Clinton Hill Community Action.
State Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo says that the foundation of New Jersey’s strength as a leader in the green economy is the strength, ability and diversity of our workforce.
“With growing opportunities in this sector, we want to ensure every New Jerseyan has access to these high-quality, family-sustaining green jobs,” said Asaro-Angelo.
“The $5 million in BRIDGE grant awards are laying a strong foundation for organizations and communities to develop workforce programs that are diverse, inclusive and doing the greater good for communities where they are located,” said Joseph Fiordaliso, president, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. “The grant will also provide for job training, creating pathways to careers in New Jersey’s green economy.”
“The award recipients showcased during today’s roundtable embody the Murphy Administration’s aim to make the most of potential that high growth sectors like clean energy present to build a diverse workforce prepared to fulfill industry demand,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “As importantly, they are making sure that New Jerseyans from all backgrounds have access to the training needed to successfully and safely perform the jobs of the future.”v