Climate Action and Resiliency

Make Sonoma County carbon neutral by 2030.

Goal 2, Objective 3

Partner with educational institutions, trade associations, businesses and non-profit organizations to establish workforce development programs that focus on carbon neutral and resilient building technologies by 2023.

Updated: January 2023

Summary of Objective Implementation Status

Workforce Investment Board (WIB) staff have been scanning and applying for grants to fund the development of a workforce development program focused on electrification.  Having applied for and been declined funding from the federal Good Jobs Challenge, WIB staff, in partnership with Economic Development Board (EDB) and Energy and Sustainability Division (ESD) staff, are honing in on areas within electrification that are in the highest demand for workforce training.  To that end, staff are focusing on gathering input from Builders and Contractors (survey) and through discussions at various other meetings/forums. While the customer demand for climate resilient building technologies is growing, existing local contractor businesses do not seem to be clamoring for training.  In fact most of the electrification training is being provided through the Energy and Sustainability Division as part of its operational mission.  Training on climate resilient technologies is being handled by Sonoma Clean Power and they report no wait lists or other issues signaling unmet needs.

In consultation with the ESD, WIB staff are narrowing to two options for training, neither of which current exist in Sonoma County.  The first, Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP), provides certification to Electricians in installing Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (e.g. charging stations).  The other, Home Energy Rating System (HERS) certifies Raters to perform field verification and diagnostic testing on features of a home to ensure they meet the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Energy Code).  These programs are currently available in areas 2+ hours away.

WIB staff are gathering data on the possibility and feasibility of bringing one or both training programs to Sonoma County.  They are further researching the “uptake” by Contractors if such programs were offered in Sonoma County.

Key Milestone Update

Research about supply and demand to be completed by December 31, 2022.

Feasibility analysis of bringing EVITP and/or HERS trainings to Sonoma County to be completed by March 31, 2023.

Outreach and enrollment in at least one training program to be completed by June 30, 2023.

Coordination and Partnership Update

WIB staff have worked hand in hand with the Economic Development Board, the Energy and Sustainability Division, Sonoma Clean Power, North Coast Builders’ Exchange and various union trade organizations. All of these entities have been part of the conversation seeking to understand where there is unmet needs in workforce training related to climate resiliency. A group of stakeholders toured the Sonoma Clean Power Advanced Energy Center. Meetings of all entities continue to regularly occur.  SRJC has not been part of the conversation because the demand for training has not been sufficient to warrant the development of a new course or certification program.

Community, Equity, and Climate Update

Should these training programs be implemented in Sonoma County, the local community will be the primary beneficiary, including those for whom 2+ hours of travel to receive such training wouldn’t be possible.

Funding Narrative

Applied for and was denied grant funding through the federal ETA’s Good Jobs Challenge. Once the training program and construct have been identified, funding will be pursued; ideally, Job Link (the WIB’s storefront job center) will be able to use its existing funding to support implementing this training.