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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.331

Introduced by Senator Miller of Chittenden District and Senator Carris of Rutland District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Economic development; labor; workforce development; green industry; industry support

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to focus workforce development on training Vermonters for jobs in the emerging green industries and to provide support and marketing advice for green industries.

AN ACT RELATING TO WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT FOR GREEN INDUSTRIES

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds the following:

(1)  There is a growing global demand for products and services that reduce the impact on the natural environment by individuals, businesses, governments, and any other entity.

(2)  There is a common international perception that Vermont has a very well‑defined green identity, a reputation developed through years of commitment to environmental integrity.

(3)  Vermont’s resources should be used to build a vibrant and strong green industry sector that creates high wage jobs for Vermonters through the development and export of value‑added products and services designed to reduce our collective impact on the environment.

(4)  Vermont must create a framework that stimulates the innovation and investment necessary to expand the development of new renewable energy sources and distribution capacity.

(5)  Vermont’s green economic development strategy must be designed to raise Vermont’s profile as a hub of environmental integrity, innovation, and opportunity for working Vermonters.

Sec. 2.  WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PLAN; GREEN ECONOMY JOB TRAINING; MARKET ASSESSMENT; PILOT PROJECT

(a)  The commissioner of labor shall conduct a labor market assessment for the green economy sector.  For the purposes of this assessment, “green economy sector” means companies and organizations that offer products and services that protect or enhance the earth’s natural systems; encourage the use and development of clean energy sources; or directly or indirectly reduce negative impacts on the environment, and “environmental enterprise employee” means an employee in a full-time capacity primarily engaged in the provision or implementation of goods or services that protect or enhance the earth’s natural systems, engaged in developing new sources of clean energy, or directly or indirectly engaged in reducing reduce negative impacts on the environment.   The assessment shall be a comprehensive analysis of occupations and jobs that are considered environmental employment in the green economy sector within traditional industries, and the results shall be issued in a written report to the general assembly no later than February 1, 2008.  The assessment shall:

(1)  Provide an accurate estimate of the number of environmental enterprise employees working in jobs in all relevant industries that use or develop clean energy sources or directly or indirectly reduce negative impacts on the environment and the relative economic impact of each employee in each industry.  The relevant industries include:

(A)  Agriculture, forestry, and mining.

(B)  Construction.

(C)  Manufacturing.

(D)  Wholesale and retail trade.

(E)  Utilities and transportation.

(F)  Information technology services and software development.

(G)  Financial services.

(H)  Professional, scientific, and technical services.

(I)  Waste management and remediation.

(J)  Education, health, and social assistance.

(K)  Arts, recreation, hospitality, and food service.

(L)  Public administration.

(2)  Develop regional profiles in order to identify the nature of concentration and distribution of green economic opportunities in Vermont.

(3)  Determine the skills and competencies necessary for success in environmental employment and the green economic sector.

(4)  Include the sector analysis described in subsection (b) of this section.

(b)  The commissioner of economic development shall conduct a sector analysis of the market for environmental goods and services and the potential economic benefit of the green economy sector for Vermont.  This analysis shall be completed no later than September 1, 2008, and shall be provided to the commissioner of labor to be included in the assessment required in subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 3.  PILOT PROJECT; SECONDARY SCHOOL; ACADEMY OF APPLIED SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; GREEN CURRICULA

(a)  The department of education shall develop a plan for creating virtual academies for applied science and technology as partnerships between communities and public and private Vermont colleges and universities.

(b)  The commissioner of education shall implement a pilot program that incorporates the Engineering the Future, Science, Technology, and the Design Process curriculum into four schools throughout Vermont.

(c)  The department of economic development shall make curricular recommendations to the department of education based on the skills assessment for secondary schools to fulfill the requirements of the labor market for environmental employment by September 2008.  No later than January 1, 2009, the department of education shall report to the house and senate committees on education when and how these recommendations will be included into the curriculum.

(d)  The commissioner of labor and the commissioner of economic development shall recommend approaches for encouraging workforce training and business opportunities in green activities within traditional industries.   The recommendations shall be issued in a written report to the general assembly on or before December 1, 2008.  The recommendations shall encourage training in the following areas:

(1)  Energy supply.  Improve the efficiency of supply and distribution, carbon capture and storage, switching from coal to gas, renewable fuels, or sources, combining heat and power, and nuclear energy, and capturing and storing carbon.

(2)  Transportation.  Increase the use of fuel efficient‑vehicles, biofuels, public transportation and nonfuel transportation modes such as walking and bicycling.

(3)  Building.  Increase the use of efficient lighting, electrical appliances, heating and cooling systems, passive and active solar retrofits, and intelligent meters and controls.

(4)  Industry.  Increase the use of more efficient, end-use electrical equipment, material recycling and substitution, heat and power recovery, and control of non-CO2 gas emissions.

(5)  Agriculture.  Increase soil carbon storage with crop and grazing land management, restoration of degraded soils and wetlands, manure management and nitrogen fertilizer use, and biofuel crops to replace fossil fuels.

(6)  Forestry.  Increase reforestation, afforestation, improved forest management, value-added processing for harvesting wood, use of biofuels, remote sensing to improve vegetation, and soil carbon sequestration.

(7)  Waste.  Improve and increase landfill methane recovery, waste incineration with energy recovery, recycling and waste minimization, and composting organic waste.

Sec. 4.  OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM

There is created within the department of labor an ombudsman program to facilitate the processing of applications for internships and alternative education grants from next generation funds.  This office shall be funded by funds allocated to administrative support for these programs.

Sec. 5.  10 V.S.A. § 531(a)(1) is amended to read:

(a)  The secretary of commerce and community development may issue grants to any employer, consortium of employers, or contract with providers of training, either individuals or organizations, as necessary, to conduct training under the following circumstances:

(1)  when issuing grants to an employer or consortium of employers, the employer promises as a condition of the grant to increase employment or provide training to enhance employment stability at an existing or expanded eligible facility within the state where eligible facility is defined as in subdivision 212(6) of this title relating to Vermont economic development authority, or the employer or consortium of employers promises to open an eligible facility within the state which will employ persons, provided that for the purposes of this section, eligible facility may be broadly interpreted to include employers in sectors other than manufacturing including the fields of information technology, telecommunications, health care, engineering, and environmental technologies; and

Sec. 6.  10 V.S.A. § 543(f) is amended to read:

(f)  Awards.  Based on guidelines set by the council, the commissioner of labor shall make awards to the following:

(1)  Training Programs.  Public, private, and nonprofit entities for existing or new innovative training programs.  There shall be a preference for programs that include training for newly created or vacant positions, with no less than 20 percent of the funding awarded to training for jobs in the green economy.  Awards may be made to programs that retrain incumbent workers.  Awards under this subdivision shall be made to programs or projects that do all the following:

* * *

(2)  Internship Program.  Public and private entities for internship programs that match Vermont employers with students from public and private secondary schools, regional technical centers, the Community High School of Vermont, and colleges.  For the purposes of this section, "internship" means a learning experience working with an employer where the intern may, but does not necessarily receive academic credit, financial remuneration, a stipend, or any combination of these.  Awards under this subdivision may be used to fund the cost of administering an internship program and to provide students with a stipend during the internship, based on need.  Awards may be made under this section to organizations that implement dual enrollment programs that result in recruitment for internships.  Awards may be made only to programs or projects that do all the following:

* * *


Sec. 7.  10 V.S.A. § 6523(d)(4) is amended to read:

(4)  Projects for funding may include the following:

* * *

(G)  until December 31, 2008 only, super-efficient buildings; and

(H)  effective projects that are not likely to be established in the absence of funding under the program;

(I)  workforce training programs for environmental enterprise employees in the clean energy sector.

Sec. 8.  LOAN PROGRAM

Efficiency Vermont and the Vermont economic development administration shall develop a proposal for a loan program for businesses with fewer than 100 employees to make it possible for these businesses to invest in capital purchases of machinery that is either more efficient or reduces pollution or consumption.  This proposal shall be presented in writing to the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs and the house committee on commerce.

Sec. 9.  PROMOTION OF GREEN INDUSTRIES; AGENCY OF COMMERCE AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT; MARKETING

The agency of commerce and community development shall develop a program to support and grow green industries in Vermont by providing them with information and support for promoting and marketing their services and products to local and global consumers as well as to organizations that provide venture capital that would help grow and strengthen these industries.  The agency may consult with any organizations and green industry principals in order to develop a comprehensive program.  The agency shall issue a written report to the senate committee on economic development, housing and general affairs and the house committee on commerce on or before January 15, 2009.  The report shall include the process for developing the program, program consultants, a description of the program and progress and successes in implementing and delivering the program, and any other appropriate information.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us