Proposition 39: Jobs and Training for California’s Workforce

Carol Zabinand Megan Emiko Scott

Executive Summary

Proposition 39 allocates up to $550 million per year for five years for energy efficiency and clean energy projects in California’s public schools, community colleges, universities, and other public facilities. It also provides funding for workforce training in energy efficiency and clean energy. This report estimates the job and workforce impacts of Proposition 39 investments, including the occupational mix of jobs and the number of entry-level positions. It presents information on workers in two key sets of occupations: the building and construction workers who will be engaged in energy efficiency retrofits and clean energy installations, and the school facilities personnel who can reduce energy use through improved operations and maintenance of buildings and their systems. The report also identifies potential training needs for the construction and school facilities workforce and estimates the number of workers that may require training for Proposition 39-funded projects. It also presents recommendations on program elements that can help ensure good jobs and workforce outcomes.

Key Findings

Job Creation

  • Proposition 39 investments will create an estimated 3,410 direct person-year jobs and 7,843 total person-year jobs annually, including indirect and induced jobs, if $550 million is used for energy efficiency retrofits distributed via grants. We use a conservative rule-of-thumb of 6.2 direct person-year jobs per million dollars of investment in energy efficiency retrofits and a 2.3 employment multiplier for these estimates, and present caveats in the report. A person-year job is defined as one full-time, one-year job–not one permanent job.
  • If some of the funds are spent on renewable energy installations, the number of direct jobs is likely to be slightly smaller and the total stimulus slightly larger due to a larger estimated multiplier.
  • Leveraging additional financing for energy retrofits and clean energy installations with a portion of the Proposition 39 funding would add jobs in direct proportion to the size of the increased investment. We use a conservative multiplier of four for the increase in total investment that could be leveraged from a revolving loan fund, based on a recent UCLA/LABC study. Creating a $50 million dollar revolving fund would result in an estimated total investment of $700 million and an estimated 4,340 direct jobs; creating a $100 million dollar revolving loan fund would result in an estimated investment of $850 million and an estimated 5,270 direct jobs.

Occupations and Entry-Level Jobs

  • An estimated two-thirds of the direct jobs (or 2,273 jobs) will be in skilled construction trades occupations; one-sixth will be in professional and managerial occupations such as architects, engineers, project managers, and contractors; and only two percent will be in specialized energy occupations such as energy auditors.
  • Proposition 39 retrofits will create an estimated 1,894 journey-level and 379 apprentice jobs annually in the trades.
  • Proposition 39 retrofit projects will create an estimated 95 entry-level, first-year apprentice jobs annually in the construction trades.

Workforce Training

California can leverage its rich and extensive existing training infrastructure to meet the training needs for carrying out Proposition 39 projects successfully.

  • Construction Trades Workers Training
    • Construction trades workers on Proposition 39 projects will be trained via the state’s key asset for training construction workers, the state-certified apprenticeship system. These four-to five-year training programs are largely self-funded by employers and workers.
    • There will be some need for funding for pre-apprenticeship training programs (which generally do not have dedicated funding sources) to prepare disadvantaged workers for apprenticeships, but this need is limited because of the low number of entry-level job openings. The U.S. Department of Labor’s new guidance on pre-apprenticeship programs and AB 554 (2011) provide a standard to assess effective pre-apprenticeship programs.
    • Further research is needed to determine whether journey-level workers need any upgrade training for new energy-saving technologies that go beyond code.
  • School Facilities Personnel
    • There are up to 30,000 school maintenance and operations workers across the state whose responsibilities affect the energy performance of school buildings.Existing training partnerships and curricula provide building blocks for expanded training for energy efficient building operations and maintenance.