Highlights

The Donald Vial Center on Employment in the Green Economy carries out research on the emerging green economy and climate change policy in California as these relate to labor markets, workforce development, and workforce policy. We work to promote the growth of a sustainable economy that brings together a highly-skilled workforce and innovative technology while also creating quality, family-supporting jobs.

In addition to conducting original research on job creation, job quality, and training in the energy efficiency and clean energy sectors, the Vial Center engages with policymakers, other researchers, and advocacy groups to provide technical assistance and education. Our partners include California’s state energy and workforce agencies, environmental advocates, community-based social justice organizations, labor unions, and contractors’ associations, among others.

The Vial Center is a project of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment and is affiliated with the Center for Labor Research and Education.

Workforce Issues and Energy Efficiency Programs: A Plan for California's Utilities

California has charted an ambitious course for building a clean energy economy, with energy efficiency as a key strategy. The investor-owned utilities (directed by the California Public Utilities Commission) administer the great majority of California's energy efficiency (EE) programs, investing over a billion dollars of ratepayer funds annually in incentives and other programs designed to encourage widespread adoption of energy saving measures.  In May 2014, the UC Berkeley Donald Vial Center on Employment in the Green Economy released Workforce Issues and Energy Efficiency Programs: A Plan for California's Utilities, which offers a detailed action plan for the investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and the California Public Utilities Commission for developing and engaging a qualified workforce with the capacity to achieve the state's energy efficiency targets. The Plan represents a significant departure from the IOUs' current practices, which do not systematically address workforce issues. It recommends the IOUs incorporate contractor and workforce standards as program requirements for their EE programs, and suggests a process for prioritizing the IOUs' investments in skills building to align with the state's key training institutions. It also proposes that the IOUs establish a dedicated workforce inclusion program for the explicit purpose of expanding access to living wage jobs and rewarding career pathways in EE work for disadvantaged Californians.
Read more on the Plan »

California Workforce Education and Training Needs Assessment

On March 17, 2011, The Donald Vial Center on Employment in the Green Economy released the California Workforce Education and Training Needs Assessment for Energy Efficiency, Distributed Generation, and Demand Response. The report was endorsed by California Public Utility Commission president Mike Peevey, Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary Martin Morgenstern, and Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) in a press conference at the State Capitol.  The study was mandated in the California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic plan to provide recommendations to the CPUC and other agencies on the workforce strategies needed to achieve the state’s ambitious energy efficiency goals. Read more on the Needs Assessment report »