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U.S. — Canada — European Commission Trilateral Roundtable: The Employment Dimension of the Transition to a Green Economy

Anniversary Paper — March 16, 2012

A collaborative effort of the U.S. Department of Labor, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and the European Commission

Introduction

On February 3-4, 2011, the U.S.-Canada - European Commission Trilateral Roundtable: The Employment Dimension of the Transition to a Green Economy brought together U.S., Canadian, and European experts representing governments, trade unions, industry, and non-governmental organizations. Discussions focused on defining and measuring green jobs, establishing effective green jobs partnerships, designing green skills development and training, ensuring green jobs serve as a pathway out of poverty, and examining the quality of green jobs, as well as the sustainability of green jobs investments by governments.

One of the outcomes of the Roundtable was an agreement that participants continue to share evaluations, new ideas, and program information, via video conference and other technologies, that could be replicated in other countries. As part of a follow-up to the Roundtable one year later, each participant has shared two updates on promising practices or strategies, which were first explored at the Roundtable. As seen in the report, these updates include new results, prospects for expansion of the initiative, how each promising practice is contributing to the promotion of a green economy, and lessons learned. The promising practices/strategies include:



United States

Promising Practice 1: YouthBuild's Green Initiatives

Prepared By: U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)

SUMMARY OF PROMISING PRACTICE/STRATEGY:

As part of the February 3, 2011 Demonstrations of Best Practices during the Roundtable, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) showcased its YouthBuild program. YouthBuild serves approximately 7,000 underprivileged youth, ages 16-24, annually by re-engaging them in innovative alternative education programs that provide individualized instruction as they work towards earning either a General Education Diploma (GED) or high school diploma. While participating in this program, youth alternate between the classroom and the worksite, gaining construction skills and building affordable housing in their communities.�

During the Roundtable, DOL showcased YouthBuild's Solar Suitcase program which offers training in energy efficient construction, complements the skills gained in the building trades, and helps prepare youth for green jobs. YouthBuild has also actively incorporated other green practices as part of its programs.� In 2010, the program promoted training in green construction — including renewable energy measures — with an emphasis on the attainment of industry-recognized credentials. The Urban League of Broward County, Florida (ULBC) is an example of how YouthBuild sites are incorporating innovative energy efficiency training modules.�

With a Green Capacity Building grant from DOL, the ULBC has expanded training opportunities to YouthBuild participants, specifically by modifying its curriculum to include energy efficient building, green sustainability, core construction, and retrofitting training modules.� For example, in partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Ft. Lauderdale (HACFL), Florida, YouthBuild students trained and worked on projects weekly with apprentices from the Housing Authority. Available housing units under the management of the Housing Authority in need of green retrofitting served as field work sites. �Through this collaboration, hundreds of energy efficient upgrades were made to housing units throughout the city of Fort Lauderdale.

ANY UPDATES SINCE FEBRUARY 2011?

ULBC's YouthBuild program has achieved great success.� The program worked in conjunction with the HACFL, Step-Up Apprenticeship program, volunteers from American Express, the community, and the Pantry of Broward (an organization providing food and support services to low-income seniors) on an initiative called "Partnering to Create an Edible Garden."� This garden, once a 20,000-square-foot vacant lot, now grows a 6,000-square-foot garden of herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

In addition, an entrepreneurial component was added to ULBC's YouthBuild program, building on the principles and knowledge gained from the green curriculum. YouthBuild students have progressed from green construction and environmental awareness, to urban farming, entrepreneurship training, and business ownership. Seven out of ten students graduated from the twelve-week HONEY (Helping Our Nations Empowering Youth) Project component of the YouthBuild Broward Class. The HONEY Project is an educational and international economic development initiative that produces young social entrepreneurs working to alleviate global poverty. Three students went into the small business module under the HONEY Invest project and one student registered her company with the State as a singular owner in December 2011. She is the sole proprietor of the Urban Youth Green Farmers (UYGF) and only YouthBuilder currently with a registered company.

ARE THERE ANY NEW RESULTS TO REPORT?

A unique marketing company was born from the urban garden when one YouthBuild participant (who completed ULBC's twelve-week social entrepreneurship training offered by the HONEY Academy) decided to harness her knowledge and develop a partnership with HACFL to create UYGF. UYGF is a youth-oriented marketing and promotion company designed to market and sell naturally produced fruits and vegetables and other unique products and goods. Local youth plant and harvest naturally produced food products in the inner-cities of South Florida and resell the products in underserved communities, local restaurants, and businesses. These projects are continuing to work with the students at UYGF to help them develop their business.�

DID THE INITIATIVE(S) CONTINUE OR EXPAND?

Today, the UYGF, with business license in hand, operate a growing venture while tending to the garden.� The UYGF is an established marketing and promotion entity which continues to seek additional funding. Urban Youth Green Farmers is in the process of applying to YouthBuild USA for a Green Grant of $5,000.00. The company is primed for expansion and continues to receive coaching from The Urban League and the HONEY Project. Also, as the recipient of the Young Minds Award by Google and Livitity Corporations, the owner is receiving coaching and support to develop and improve the capacity of Urban Youth Green Farmers.

HOW DOES THIS PROMISING PRACTICE CONTRIBUTE TO OR PROMOTE THE GREEN ECONOMY?

The ULBC initiative contributes to a green economy by rebuilding the community using green principles to promote energy efficiency. The community also benefits from the effort by having access to locally grown products at a reasonable cost.

ARE THERE ANY LESSONS LEARNED?

The ULBC program helped shape YouthBuild participants who are now equipped with valuable skills and knowledge to enter the world of business as entrepreneurs and future leaders in the green economy. The participants have also learned the concept of giving back to the community and can be seen as role models within their communities.



Promising Practice 2: Pacific Gas & Electric PowerPathway� Program

Prepared By: U.S. Department of Labor and PG&E

SUMMARY OF PROMISING PRACTICE/STRATEGY:

Pacific Gas & Electric's (PG&E) PowerPathway� program was a part of the February 3, 2011 panel on "Effective Partnership Models for Green Jobs Training." The panel highlighted the importance of leveraging partnerships between government, the public workforce system, business, the postsecondary education system, and other important stakeholders to achieve success in transitioning to a green economy by preparing workers for the jobs of the future.�

Declines in students' interest in math and science, as well as the anticipated retirement of baby boomers, are key factors contributing to a deficit of skilled operations workers.� In response, PG&E has partnered with educational institutions, government, the public workforce system, labor unions, and other industry businesses to fill these workforce gaps in California. PG&E's PowerPathway� program seeks to develop credential programs that build workplace readiness and job specific skills while working with a consortium of employers statewide to coordinate the hiring of new graduates from community colleges and universities. The PG&E PowerPathway Training Network is now cultivating career pathways in four areas: clean technology vehicles, energy efficiency and renewable energy, engineering and smart grid, and skilled crafts.

ANY UPDATES SINCE FEBRUARY 2011?

PG&E PowerPathway� Training Network now includes partnerships with 24 California public community colleges and universities and has a continued focus on creating career pathways that strengthen community access and employee progression into new energy jobs. PowerPathway was featured in a 2011 report by the National Commission on Energy Policy's Task Force on America's Future Energy Jobs and in case studies by Skills for America's Future and by Corporate Voices for Working Families. PG&E continues to expand its PowerPathway� programs, particularly around education and industry engagement, in building the framework for California's energy efficiency workforce and in a new initiative that provides enhanced career and training support to military veterans.

ARE THERE ANY NEW RESULTS TO REPORT?

Through the PowerPathway� programs, PG&E has graduated more than 295 individuals over the past four years from its training programs. Specifically, employment of graduates from the 10 Bridge to Pre-Apprentice/Utility Worker programs over the last four years has been 57 percent (248 graduated/142 hired).� Graduates have been hired to work in 20 different job positions at PG&E, with PG&E contractors, or with industry-related employers.

PG&E launched a Certificate in Integrated Energy Solutions (IES) at California State University, East Bay, a four-course graduate-level program designed to increase the skills and knowledge of engineers and technical professionals on the fundamentals of energy efficient building engineering, sustainable construction practices, and successfully delivering real-world integrated energy efficient solutions. The IES Certificate program was launched March 31, 2011. The final course of the four-course program is currently in session. The first cohort of 32 students will graduate March 15, 2012. Seventeen of these students are currently unemployed or underemployed Silicon Valley technology professionals looking to advance their skills and increase their marketability for careers in the energy and utilities industry.

In February 2012, PG&E PowerPathway� will begin setting the foundation for an education and training Energy Sector Workforce Strategy by convening key stakeholders — industry, education, labor and government — to accelerate the development of California's energy efficiency workforce.

DID THE INITIATIVE CONTINUE OR EXPAND?

PG&E PowerPathway� expanded its outreach to military veterans in 2011 through a commitment to Troops to Energy Jobs, a new workforce readiness initiative sponsored by the Center for Energy Workforce Development. Through this initiative, PG&E will build awareness and training among military personnel on opportunities available in the utility sector that match skills learned during military service.�

HOW DOES THIS PROMISING PRACTICE CONTRIBUTE TO OR PROMOTE THE GREEN ECONOMY?

PG&E is sharing its energy efficiency expertise through PowerPathway's� Energy Efficiency and Renewables Training Network by assisting community colleges and universities with curriculum development and access to subject matter experts. PG&E's Energy Sector Workforce Strategy will contribute to the green economy by convening the key stakeholders, identifying the gaps, and building the framework necessary for developing the skilled workforce which will provide the design, construction, installation, operations and maintenance capabilities for improved energy efficiency in commercial, industrial, and agricultural buildings in California.

ARE THERE ANY LESSONS LEARNED?

PG&E PowerPathway� has realized success by building partnerships and leveraging the strengths of the educational and public workforce investment systems rather than attempting to undertake the work unilaterally.� Training must be driven by industry workforce needs, and active employer participation is required so that solutions to California's skilled energy and utilities workforce challenges may be addressed collaboratively.

The PowerPathway� model of industry partnership with the educational and public workforce system is replicable and scalable to address training needs for other industries, in new geographies, and with new populations. Currently, educational and public workforce systems far and wide are eager for corporations and industries to partner and share resources with them. The model works because it's a win-win-win on all sides: businesses get the skilled and trained individuals they need locally from the education system; educational institutions develop responsive curriculum that produces in-demand skills; and students benefit from skills that are marketable and useful in attaining jobs.



Canada

Promising Practice 3: Green Housing as Pathway out of Poverty

Prepared by: Canadian Housing & Renewal Association (CHRA)

SUMMARY OF PROMISING PRACTICE:

The Canadian Housing & Renewal Association (CHRA) presented initiatives spearheaded by two of its member organizations during the Roundtable: Choices for Youth; and, Building Urban Industries for Local Development (BUILD).� Both initiatives target low-income Canadians facing labour market barriers, with an emphasis on youth, Aboriginal people and those exiting the criminal justice system for green construction/retrofit skills training. These put into practice CHRA's Green Housing, Green Jobs policy statement, which includes recommendations designed to encourage the scaling-up of similar approaches and recommends that government programs target low-income Canadians with barriers to employment for the construction sector and other high-demand areas with a focus on retrofitting social housing.

The initiatives presented at the Roundtable included:

  • Train for Trades.� Based in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Train for Trades is an initiative of Choices for Youth which aims to navigate youth away from dependency on income support, towards sustainable employment by increasing employability skills in the energy retro-fitting of low income housing.� It offers an intensive model of support to youth and credible industry standard training with the aim of demonstrating to its participants that work is impactful, both for themselves and the broader community.�
  • Warm Up Winnipeg.� Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Warm Up Winnipeg is an initiative of BUILD which operates in many of Winnipeg's lowest income neighborhoods and provides participants with experience energy retro-fitting low-income homes. Many of the trainees are of Aboriginal descent and face multiple barriers to entry into the labour market, which makes the various supports offered on site, such as drivers' training, parenting skills-building, tutoring critical to its success. Trainees are also often former inmates with minimal or no employment history.

ANY UPDATES SINCE FEBRUARY 2011?

Through Phase II of Train for Trades,which began in 2011, youth will retrofit up to 60 units and play a major role in the retro-fitting of a new youth program facility.� This phase will see the continued development of the program as a social enterprise. Work with several corporate partners to expand Train for Trades to double the number of youth engaged in retrofit work for the Newfoundland & Labrador Housing Corporation is ongoing. At the same time, funding for Choices for Youth has also been secured to develop more affordable housing for youth.

In February 2011, the Affordable Warmth in First Nations Communities event brought together First Nations housing professionals from across the country to learn about and tour Warm Up Winnipeg operations. Warm Up Winnipeg's efforts to improve the efficiency of Winnipeg's low income housing stock, while generating employment and skills training opportunities, was highly relevant for these individuals and well received.�

In 2011, the Scotiabank EcoLiving Business Leadership Award, which recognizes businesses, innovators and students for excellence in the development of home energy efficiency initiatives, was awarded to BUILD, which operates Warm up Winnipeg.

ARE THERE ANY NEW RESULTS TO REPORT?

Choices for Youth recently completed an evaluation of its Train for Trades initiative which showed that almost 80 percent of the 19 youth who had completed the program are either employed or pursuing education related to the trades, with 26 percent currently working in trades-related fields and 21 percent pursuing post-secondary education. Ten percent have graduated from a post-secondary program and are pursing trades-related work, and 16 percent are working in an unrelated field.

In 2010, 90 percent (35 individuals) of Warm Up Winnipeg's trainees transitioned into the workforce or into trades-based education.

DID THE INITIATIVE CONTINUE OR EXPAND?

When Train for Trades was originally developed in 2008, it aimed to support 10 youth for an initial project. Building on this, Phase II of the project developed a partnership with the Newfoundland & Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and was able to double the number of youth in the program.

Warm Up Winnipeg was first established by BUILD in 2006 as a pilot project to provide energy and water retrofits in 120 homes in a designated inner-city neighborhood and has since grown to serve 16 neighborhoods and encompass a broader focus such as: retrofitting homes with additional attic and basement insulation and installing low flush toilets, efficient showerheads, faucet aerators, compact fluorescent lighting, and pipe-wrapping.

HOW DOES THIS PROMISING PRACTICE CONTRIBUTE TO OR PROMOTE THE GREEN ECONOMY?

The training offered and results achieved through Train for Trades and Warm up Winnipeg focuses on energy retro-fitting of housing, particularly low-income housing. In 2010, Warm up Winnipeg reported energy green house gas (GHG) savings at three GHG tonnes per private house and 1.5 GHG tonnes per public housing unit, representing 1,400 tonnes per year.

ARE THERE ANY LESSONS LEARNED?

Both Train for Trades and Warm Up Winnipeg have grown in scale, demonstrating the scalability of initiatives with this focus.�

Train for Trades was inspired by Warm Up Winnipeg, as well as the Toronto-based initiative, Eva's Phoenix. Mentorship provided by the organizations running these two initiatives was critical to the development of Train for Trades, demonstrating the potential replicability of initiatives aimed at green-focused skills training for youth.�



Promising Practice 4: ECO Canada's Work on Defining the Green Economy

Prepared By: The Environmental Careers Organization (ECO)Canada

SUMMARY OF PROMISING PRACTICE:

ECO Canada, a Canadian not-for-profit organization with a mandate to ensure Canada has an adequate supply of skilled labour to meet its environmental human resource needs, has set out on an initiative to better define and understand the green economy in Canada. The first piece of this process was a labour market study released in 2010, entitled Defining the Green Economy. To help businesses, governments and the public understand the opportunities and challenges associated with green jobs, the study proposed a definition of the green economy, identified top opportunity areas, and developed a definition of green jobs. The report concluded that the reallocation and adaptation of existing jobs will be the most significant labour market impact of a shift towards a green economy, resulting in workers having to learn new skills or broaden their pre-existing skill-sets. The project was also an important step in developing a common framework for defining and determining how best to measure green jobs.

ARE THERE NEW RESULTS TO REPORT?

The completion of the Defining the Green Economy study has allowed ECO Canada to lead the development of a Green Economy definitional model and intelligence gathering to inform stakeholders and contribute to multi-national discussions on this topic.

Building on its work to define the green economy and green jobs, EcoCanada has continued to be active in developing accreditation for environmental professions, for instance through the development of an Environmental Professional (EP) designation which provides professionals with formal recognition of environmental competencies in the areas of environmental protection, resource management, environmental sustainability, environmental compliance and management systems auditing, and greenhouse gas reporting. More recently, it has developed a Professional Meteorologist Certification, which provides accreditation in the field of meteorology. Awarded by ECO Canada and overseen by the Canadian Environmental Professional Certification Board, these, and many other certifications, are all based on common parameters, including combinations of skills, practical knowledge and experience related to green professions.��

DID THE INTITIATIVE CONTINUE OR EXPAND?

ECO Canada's efforts to define a green economy in Canada are expanding through a new study, entitled Developing Canada's Green Economy. This study will examine the overall scope of employment and assess labour supply/demand, competencies and essential skills within the environmental and other sectors to assist employers, professionals, students, academic institutions and government to better understand the characteristics of the green economy and green employment. It will also attempt to further develop consistent language to facilitate comparative analyses of green jobs in the labour market, across both the Canadian and US economy.��

ECO Canada also initiated and hosted the first of a series of expert panel discussions in November 2011 with information-sharing partners. This Panel aims to establish a common technical definition and framework for measuring green jobs and the green economy as a basis for future data collection. Such a framework would allow for the creation of comparable and reliable data and analysis. Partners include representatives from the Government of Canada, provincial governments, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and nongovernmental organizations.

Discussions at the expert panel have thus far focused on developing and applying a definitional model to measure the green economy and the challenges/opportunities this presents. Expert panelists have also discussed the potential for future partnership and information-sharing opportunities.

Building on these activities, the Developing Canada's Green Economy study is expected to be completed in the spring of 2012 and will include:

  • A definitional framework for green employment incorporating ECO Canada's prior work in developing National Occupational Standards for environmental employment;
  • A profile of the specific industries, occupations, and essential skills for the leading areas of opportunity in the Canadian green economy; and,
  • An in-depth examination of green workforce opportunities in the Canadian economy as well as an assessment of future opportunities in areas of anticipated growth.

HOW DOES THIS PROMISING PRACTICE CONTRIBUTE TO OR PROMOTE THE GREEN ECONOMY?

A common definition and universal way of thinking about green jobs is essential for the proper analysis of labour market trends and the development of the green economy as a whole. While many organizations have established or published content commenting on definitions for the green economy and green jobs, none have taken the next step of characterizing green employment as it relates to green industries or specific environmental subsectors. ECO Canada's study will be the first to deliver labour market information (LMI) with this focus.

By producing comparable and reliable occupationally-focused information, ECO Canada will be providing meaningful and relevant access points for those interested in joining the green workforce (e.g., students, entry-level and mid-career transitioning professionals). In addition, occupationally-focused LMI data can be used to help identify current and future skills gaps, labour supply/demand, and inform policy decisions.

ARE THERE ANY LESSONS LEARNED?

Both the discussion at the 2011 Roundtable and recent activity linked to the Developing Canada's Green Economy project have reinforced the need for accurate green occupation-focused LMI that emphasizes a shared, universal language and/or approach.

It is becoming increasingly evident that meaningful partnerships and information-sharing opportunities between national and international organizations are essential to the success of this initiative, which is particularly important when addressing complementary research objectives as this requires comparable data. The long-term operational execution of ECO Canada's green economy labour market research projects will focus on green occupation-based outcomes and continued engagement of both national and international organizations and will continue to be incorporated into ECO Canada's processes.



European Commission

Promising Practice 5: Sustainable Industrial Policies (Sustainable Industrial Policy/Sustainable Consumption & Production Action Plan (SIP/SCP))

Prepared By: European Commission, Directorate-General Enterprise & Industry, Sustainable Industrial Policy

SUMMARY OF PROMISING PRACTICE:

This presentation addressed the ways and means by which the European Commission is working to help deliver sustainable products, production and consumption. This included an overview of the Europe 2020 strategy that includes a sustainable growth pillar under which two flagship initiatives on resource efficiency and industrial policy are being implemented. �Particular focus was placed on the Sustainable Industrial Policy/Sustainable Consumption & Production Action Plan (SIP/SCP AP). This has at its core an integrated product policy that aims to improve the environmental performance of products along with a strategy for the competitiveness of Europe's environmental industries and actions aimed at fostering the demand for better products, through labeling, green public procurement and incentives.

ANY UPDATES SINCE FEBRUARY 2011?

On Resource Efficiency, the Commission adopted in September 2011 a detailed Roadmap outlining policies and actions that will be taken to implement the objectives of the resource efficiency flagship communication. Some of the key initiatives will focus on the best ways and means to turn waste from a problem into a resource/secondary raw material; improve the efficiency of buildings and the transport sector and deliver cleaner/greener products, production process and consumption by e.g. eco-design, green public procurement and better environmental footprint labeling.

On industrial competitiveness, the Commission adopted in October 2011 a new package of policies and proposals tackling the latest industrial challenges and presenting updates on EU Member States competitiveness including specific indicators on sustainability. Some of the key action points focus on better bringing innovation to the market by creating demonstration projects and pilot test facilities; promoting deployment of cleaner technologies along value chains with incentives to facilitate the participation of SMEs; supporting social entrepreneurship in Europe by enhancing its public profile and its access to public and private finance; broadening and deepening Innovation Partnerships and strengthening the coordination of Member States' industrial policies.

ARE THERE ANY NEW RESULTS TO REPORT?

The latest state of play in terms of sustainable competitiveness is set out in the above publications. In addition and of particular interest may be the 2011 European Competiveness Report that includes a chapter on sustainable industry describing and presenting extensive indicators on the sustainability performance of European industry in recent years. This shows significant decoupling of economic growth and energy use with marked improvements in terms of energy efficiency.

We can also highlight the results of a specially commissioned study for the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry on resource efficiency and competitiveness and present a new brochure distilling and presenting the key findings of these analyses.� For instance:

  • Between 1995 and 2009 consumption of renewable energy increased by over 70 percent
  • EU industry showed a 27 percent decrease in energy intensity, with higher energy efficiency in almost all industrial sectors
  • GHG emissions reduced by 15.5 percent between 1990 and 2010 while the economy grew by 41 percent.
  • Air quality: Particulates emissions (responsible for human respiratory problems) have fallen by around 50 percent and nitrogen oxide, ammonia and sulphur dioxide (responsible for acid rain) have also been halved.
  • Industrial waste generation decreased by 8.6 percent between 2004 and 2008

DID THE INITIATIVE CONTINUE OR EXPAND?

Preparatory work on the 2012 review of the SCP/SIP Action Plan1 has begun. The impact assessment process is ongoing and the public consultation is open until the beginning of April 2012. No decision has yet been taken on the final format of the review or new initiatives to be brought forward in this context but any new proposals are likely to be presented in the 4th quarter of 2012.

In addition, the next Eco-design directive working plan for the period 2012-2014 will be adopted in spring 2012. The Ecodesign Directive provides with consistent EU-wide rules for improving the environmental performance products (ERPs) through ecodesign. It prevents disparate national legislations on the environmental performance of these products from becoming obstacles to the intra-EU trade. The working plan sets out the list of products to be covered by Eco-design measures in the mentioned period. This is the first working plan in which not only energy-using but all energy-related products are considered for inclusion. A review of the Directive is also ongoing with results expected in spring 2012.

HOW DOES THIS PROMISING PRACTICE CONTRIBUTE TO OR PROMOTE THE GREEN ECONOMY?

All of the policies and actions outlined above are designed to deliver sustainable growth and promote the green economy. Actions and policies address both the supply and demand sides and focus on better/green products, more efficient production process and increasing demand from consumers for greener products. They are complemented by a range of specific micro-economic actions and programmes and other initiatives in the field of climate and energy and in the international domain to ensure a level playing field and greater market access for environmental goods and services.

ARE THERE ANY LESSONS LEARNED?

In the development of the initiatives and policies outlined above we have seen that a wide range of integrated, coherent and consistent policies are necessary to contribute to bringing about the required improvements in products, production and consumption. It is necessary to work on both the demand and supply sides and find a smart mix between incentives and sanctions. Voluntary commitments are often more effective but regulatory intervention is sometimes necessary. We also see the need to work with industry in the design of policies that affect them and allow adequate time and opportunity for all stakeholders to contribute to policy development. In order to better take consumer behavior into account we see scope for further use of behavioral economics in this field.�



Promising Practice 6: Green Skills and Training � Confederation of German Employers (BDA)

Prepared By:� Confederation of German Employers, Germany

SUMMARY OF PROMISING PRACTICE/STRATEGY:

In 2011 the topic of Green Jobs and green growth was high on the agenda of international organizations. �For instance, the OECD adopted a Green Growth strategy in May 2011, the Governing Body of the ILO discussed the issue of "Green jobs, decent work and sustainable development" at its 312th Session in November 2011 in Geneva, and several national and regional conferences dealt with the issue as well. Moreover, institutions and stakeholder started to prepare for the Rio+20 Conference expected to take place in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro. �In all these discussions and initiatives, the question of skills development has been of concern, as the change to a low carbon industry is expected to lead to deep structural adjustments with a profound impact on labour markets and skills requirements.

Skills development is key in supporting the shift of employment from declining sectors to emerging sectors and help employees and companies in the transition process to create new employment opportunities. At the same time, skills shortages (especially in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professions) are already an obstacle for a transition to a low carbon economy. A joint study by the ILO and the EU Commission on "Skills and Occupational Needs in Renewable Energy" (2011) states that "there is a widespread skill shortage of engineers and technicians in all parts of the renewable energy industry, which in many countries comes from a broader trend by students away from engineering studies." �Indeed, in Germany alone there was a skill shortage in STEM professions of 167,000 persons in October 2011. Thus, the promotion of STEM skills became more urgent. In Germany the initiative "MINT (=STEM) create future!," launched by the German business federations BDA and BDI in 2008, expanded its activities in 2011.

ANY UPDATES SINCE FEBRUARY 2011?

The initiative "MINT (=STEM) create future!" is financially supported by Deutsche Telekom and other business partners with the aim of increasing the public awareness of the importance of STEM skills. The number of STEM ambassadors (entrepreneurs, researcher, technicians, etc.) who contribute to the success of the initiative, has increased in 2011 to nearly 6000. The business partners of the initiative invested in 2011 through manpower and materials around 100 million euro for the improvement of STEM education at in schools and universities. The patron of the BDA/BDI initiative "MINT create future" is the physicist and current chancellor of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel.

At the international level, both the �ILO and the EU Commission jointly tried to better understand the concept of "green skills" in 2011 through joint studies on "Skills and Occupational Needs in Renewable Energy," "Skills and Occupational Needs in Green Building," and "Methods of Identification of Skill Needs on the Labour Market in Transition to the Low Carbon Economy." The studies confirmed that the fundamental skills for most environmental or low-carbon jobs already exist and that the challenge is foremost to improving existing skills, rather than creating new ones. �

In Europe, EU social partners finalized a joint project, supported by the EU Commission, on "The Employment Impact of Climate Change Policies" in March 2011. It showed that "there is a desperate shortage of tools to help anticipate the low-carbon socioeconomic transition, right across Europe." Much more work has to be done to get a better picture of the impact of climate change policies on skills and employment. �However, green jobs and green skills should not be distinguished from other jobs or skills. There should not be a separation between a green economic sphere and the normal economic sphere. The emphasis should be on greening all enterprises and jobs. In terms of skills development, this means that the focus should be on integrating sustainable development and environmental issues into existing qualifications rather than creating new training standards.



1 COM (2008)397