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Seattle to spend $2.24 million to train equity hires for clean energy construction

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(The Center Square) – Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced $2.24 million in funding to recruit and place workers from underserved communities into construction and clean energy jobs.

Plans call for the money to be used for up to 260 workers to be prepared for construction and clean energy jobs. Potential workers will be provided with pre-apprenticeship training and job preparation support from six awarded organizations:

Emerald Cities Collaborative – Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Pacific Northwest Ironworkers Local 86 Emerald Cities Collaborative – Electrical Pathways Apprenticeship and Non-Traditional Employment for WomenYouthCare’s YouthBuild Seattle Central College’s Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training

“These investments serve two critical needs: doing everything we can as a city to respond to the climate crisis and creating new economic opportunities in clean energy for residents whose communities are the most impacted,” Harrell said in a news release.

As a condition of funding, receiving organizations will have to prioritize the placement of “priority hire” individuals into construction apprenticeship programs and clean energy jobs.

Priority Hire is Seattle’s designation for workers residing in underserved communities.

Harrell’s office stated that the funding acts as a continued investment by Seattle toward its ambitious goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

One of the city’s recent acts was establishing a new building emissions standard last year. Seattle is subject to this standard itself as seven of the city’s buildings fit the requirements, which would in turn means spending approximately $35 million by 2042.

Last year, the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment appropriated $828,228 in payroll expense tax revenue to implement the building emissions performance standard policy.

The 2024 city budget includes $5.8 million in appropriations from the payroll expense tax to continue the policy’s implementation. This includes $4.5 million for engineering design and capital funding for nonprofit and affordable housing buildings.

Harrell’s office said these new policies will create hundreds of local jobs that cannot be outsourced and will support workers directly in the Seattle area.