WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) is today introducing legislation to make bold investments in building a skilled workforce that is capable of preparing for and responding to the climate crisis while creating millions of jobs and centering communities who are disproportionately affected by the harms of climate change.
“As we see increasingly destructive wildfires, droughts, and storms, the need for a skilled workforce to prepare for and respond to climate devastation could not be more evident,” said Jayapal. “My Climate Resilience Workforce Act responds to this crisis at the scale necessary. This legislation will both help us to address climate change while investing in millions of good-paying, union jobs that center the very communities who are most impacted.”
Jayapal’s Climate Resilience Workforce Act would build the workforce our nation needs to achieve climate resilience by:
- Creating millions of climate resilience jobs through grants to states, counties, cities, tribal governments, labor organizations, and community-based nonprofit organizations.
- Removing barriers to employment in climate resilience jobs based on immigration status and prior involvement with the criminal justice system by providing a roadmap to citizenship for workers employed in climate resilience sectors or in workforce training programs and prohibiting employers from inquiring about criminal history before making an offer.
- Funding existing workforce development programs and creating new ones through grants that train workers for employment within climate resilience sectors, with a priority for pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs.
- Investing in the development of regional, state, local, and community-based climate resilience action plans that center frontline communities and identify effective strategies to achieve climate resilience.
- Creating an Office of Climate Resilience within the White House that would focus on planning, worker protection, and equity.
While the severity and frequency of climate disasters have increased alarmingly in recent years, the United States currently lacks the necessary workforce to rapidly and completely respond to the crisis. In 2022 alone, the United States experienced 18 weather disasters that cost the country more than $175 billion in damage.
The effects of these worsening climate disasters also disproportionately impact low-income communities, communities of color, and Tribal and Indigenous communities. Additionally, formerly and currently incarcerated individuals and undocumented immigrants play a critical role in supporting climate resilience — from fighting wildfires to helping communities prepare for and recover from climate disasters — yet face significant barriers to employment and threats to their health and safety.
“As climate change accelerates, the resilience workforce made up of skilled professionals with deep expertise in disaster recovery represents our nation’s best chance at rebuilding smarter, faster, and stronger. That’s why Congress must provide the resilience workforce with protections against wage theft, unsafe working conditions, and the threat of deportation that hangs over these essential jobs,” said Saket Soni, Executive Director of Resilience Force. “Rep. Jayapal’s Climate Resilience Workforce Act will transform the rising recovery industry into a source of good jobs and a driver of racial equity, economic justice, and climate resilience.”
The Climate Resilience Workforce Act is sponsored by Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Brendan F. Boyle (PA-02), Cori Bush (MO-01), André Carson (IN-07), Troy Carter (LA-02), Greg Casar (TX-35), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Judy Chu (CA-28), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Gerald Connolly (VA-11), Jasmine Crockett (TX-30), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Chuy Garcia (IL-04), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Summer Lee (PA-12), Grace Meng (NY-06), Jerrold Nadler (NH-12), Grace Napolitano (CA-31), Eleanor Homes Norton (DC), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), Donald Payne (NJ-10), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Adam Smith (WA-09), Mark Takano (CA-39), Shri Thanedar (MI-13), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Juan Vargas (CA-52), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).
The legislation is endorsed by 1000 Grandmothers, 350 Seattle, Casa Latina, Center for Popular Democracy , Citizens’ Climate Lobby Seattle, Climate Action California, Climate Reality – King County WA Chapter, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Firelands Workers Action/Accion de Trabajadores, Friends of the Earth U.S., Green New Deal Network, Indivisible, National Immigrant Justice Center, National Immigration Project (NIPNLG), National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), OneAmerica, Our Revolution, People’s Action, Puget Soundkeeper, Resilience Force, Seattle Aquarium, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, The Architecture Lobby, Union of Concerned Scientists, Wild Orca, and Working Families Party.
Full text of the legislation can be found here.