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American Climate Corps: A Talent Pipeline for Sustainable Technology Partners, Green IT Companies?

September 21, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Where can technology partners find employees who understand sustainability, green IT and renewable energy issues?

One long-term answer may involve the American Climate Corps., a new "workforce training and service initiative that will ensure more young people have access to the skills-based training necessary for good-paying careers in the clean energy and climate resilience economy," according to The White House.

Still, the initial American Climate Corps. announcement focused mostly on environmental jobs rather than green IT or sustainable technology careers.

American Climate Corps and Federal Government Climate Goals

Dig a little deeper, and the initial American Climate Corps. website mentions training and/or service in seven areas:

  1. Deploy low-cost, reliable, clean energy;
  2. Implement energy-efficient solutions to help families save money on their energy bills;
  3. Rebuild coastal wetlands to protect costal communities form storm surges and flooding;
  4. Manage forests to prevent catastrophic wildfires;
  5. Protect America's public wetlands and waters for future generations;
  6. Enhance agricultural systems to protect natural resources and conserve water during droughts; and
  7. Advance environmental justice to ensure all Americans live in healthy, thriving communities.

American Climate Corps.: What About Information Technology Employees?

The American Climate Corps. announcement spanned roughly 1,400 words. Amid all that text, the White House didn't actually address the Information Technology (IT) industry or green IT opportunities.

The first technology reference stated: "The American Climate Corps will mobilize a new, diverse generation of more than 20,000 Americans – putting them to work conserving and restoring our lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, deploying clean energy, implementing energy efficient technologies, and advancing environmental justice, all while creating pathways to high-quality, good-paying clean energy and climate resilience jobs in the public and private sectors after they complete their paid training program." (Note: We bolded the technologies reference so that you could spot it more easily.)

The second technology reference stated: "The Department of Energy’s Career Skills Training Program announced $10 million to provide grants to pay the Federal share of career skills training programs under which students concurrently receive classroom instruction and on-the-job training for the purpose of obtaining an industry-related certification to install energy efficient building technologies. Additionally, just this week, DOE hosted the inaugural meeting of the 21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Board, which is charged with advising the Secretary of Energy in developing a strategy for the Department of Energy to support and develop a skilled energy workforce, including—among other goals—prioritizing effective education and job training for underrepresented groups and socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals." (Note: Here again, we bolded the technologies reference so that you could spot it more easily.)

What about IT departments and technology partners that need to hire green IT, renewable energy and carbon reduction efforts? The announcement didn't address those points, which we consider a missed near-term opportunity.

Help Wanted: Green IT Experts Will Be In Demand

Among the talent trends to keep in mind:

  • Nearly 90% of midsize and large organizations plan to increase their IT spending on sustainability over the next year, an IBM survey of global business leaders found. The biggest driver for IT spending on sustainability involves measuring, managing and reducing energy costs, the survey found.
  • Environmental sustainability remains a Top 10 business priority for CEOs, according to Gartner.
  • By 2026, 75% of organizations will increase their business engagement with IT vendors that have clear sustainability goals. As a result, CIOs will seek to replace vendors that don't have sustainability goals, according to Gartner.

Amid those anecdotal trends, it's a safe bet that IT service providers, IT consulting firms and green IT companies will need to recruit climate-savvy employees. Near term, the American Climate Corps. doesn't seem to be targeting that talent pipeline need. But we'll be watching for longer-term updates.

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