A Clean Energy Career Summit Is on the Way in Westchester

Learn more about a booming, new industry at this inaugural event happening at Pace University.

The clean energy industry is on the rise, and now is your chance to learn more about it.

On April 3, from 2 to 7 p.m., the Westchester County Clean Energy Accelerator’s Career Working Group, a partnership between Westchester County’s Office of Economic Development and Sustainable Westchester, hosts the inaugural Westchester County Clean Energy Career Summit at Pace University in White Plains. 

It comes at a time when New York State has doubled down on its efforts relating to clean energy. At the end of 2023, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a $45 million Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship Clean Energy Training Initiative. It expands the capacity of labor organizations to offer training as a pathway to clean energy careers. Through the initiative, $15 million is now available to support projects that develop a pipeline of skilled talent to meet projected workforce needs in a variety of sectors.

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At the end of 2023, the number of individuals with clean energy jobs in the state reached the highest level ever with a record 171,000 workers, reflecting the quality career opportunities in the sector, which outpaces overall job growth statewide. 

 

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Locally, that same interest is growing. For example, Soulful Synergy’s electric vehicle training program shows that there’s momentum around clean energy jobs in Westchester. Soulful Synergy offers a nine-hour intensive course during which instructors empower folks with the tools and expertise to excel in the world of electric mobility.  

That’s just one of the ways that Westchester County, a bronze certified climate smart community, is actively expanding its capacity in the clean energy sector. The upcoming career summit will serve as a further catapult into the industry, connecting residents to employers in the region.

“All of our employers in the clean energy sector are having trouble hiring people,” says Bridget Gibbons, Director of Economic Development for the county. “We want to be a matchmaker.”

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The goal is for Westchester to be a key part of the climate solution while maintaining a pipeline of well-paying jobs. The summit is different from other career fairs in that it has networking opportunities, keynotes, and panel discussions for people of all age levels, including down to high schoolers who might not want to go to college. 

“One of the purposes of this event is to expose the youth to careers in clean energy,” notes Gibbons. “What is the day in the life of solar, geothermal, heat pumps? It’s really demystifying what a clean energy career is about.”

The Panels

The first panel at the summit really hones in on that, covering clean energy training opportunities. That means highlighting the various certificate programs, how long training takes, what degree programs are most applicable, and so on. 

But the summit isn’t just for the youth. It’s for anyone who is switching careers or graduating college as well. The second panel, planned for 5:30 p.m. so that people who do work can still attend, is all about clean energy hiring opportunities. Attendees will learn about what jobs are open, who is hiring, what the pay and hours are like, and other details around what one can expect from a job in clean energy. 

Clean Energy Opportunities

Aside from the panels, there will be ample opportunities to better understand the sector. The event will be set up so that people can easily go up to employers and ask questions, then take part in interactive opportunities like VR headsets to visualize what it’s like to be on the job. 

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Also attending the summit is New Yorkers for Clean Power and Sustainable Westchester. In addition, the county highlights the Willdan Clean Energy Academy, an energy efficiency career training program that offers free advanced-level courses designed to meet the needs of the clean energy job market. For those looking for additional opportunities, New York’s Offshore Wind Training, supported by NYSERDA, provides an introduction to career pathways and training opportunities in the growing offshore wind industry to help jumpstart or further your career.

“We’re providing a lot of content because it’s a fairly new sector,” observes Gibbons. “People don’t necessarily know all of the lingo so we really want to educate people on what clean energy is.”

Related: Sustainability Is a Serious Deal for These Westchester Businesses

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