On June 29, 2023, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) opened a competitive funding opportunity for the Climate-Ready Workforce for Coastal States, Tribes, and Territories Initiative.
Its goal is to connect people across the country to good-paying jobs, such as landscape technicians, heat health outreach specialists and climate equity officers, that tackle the climate crisis and boost local resilience.
NOAA will invest $60 million total from the Inflation Reduction Act for the initiative — a $50 million competitive funding opportunity and $10 million for technical assistance to support applicants and grantees.
This announcement comes as a new Department of Energy report released yesterday found that last year, clean energy jobs increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and is part of a larger job creation trend in sectors that tackle the climate crisis.
“A climate-resilient nation requires a climate-ready workforce,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re launching the Climate-Ready Workforce Initiative to provide major funding and assistance to qualified public, private and other organizations so they can train workers and help them find good paying jobs that will strengthen climate resilience and enhance their local economies.”
NOAA aims to grant between 10-20 awards under this competition, at amounts ranging from $500,000-$10 million each. NOAA is seeking qualified state, tribal, territorial and local governments, institutions of higher education, and non-profit organizations in coastal states or territories to lead partnerships to train and place workers in quality jobs that enhance climate resilience.
The Climate-Ready Workforce for Coastal States, Tribes, and Territories Initiative — released under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) — is jointly run by NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program and Climate Program Office, and leverages support from NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management.
“There’s a major need across coastal and Great Lakes communities for workers who are ready to address the challenges of climate change,” said Jonathan Pennock, Ph.D., director of the National Sea Grant College Program. “Sea Grant’s innovative approach of providing science solutions to communities, along with the Climate Program Office’s support of high-priority climate science will help tailor workforce solutions to address community needs.”
These partners will work collaboratively with NOAA to support regional economies and their associated workforces in distinct sectors and industries by developing training and placement programs that help workers enter or advance into quality jobs focused on enhancing resilience to climate-related impacts.
“A skilled, diverse and fairly compensated workforce is essential to help bolster the nation’s climate resilience,” said Wayne Higgins, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s Climate Program Office.
“Through this competition, we will partner with employers, trade organizations and community-based organizations. We will help partners leverage climate services so they can place training participants in good jobs that enhance climate resilience,” he continued.
NOAA strongly encourages applications for projects that reach historically underserved communities and individuals.
As a program included within President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, this opportunity will place special emphasis on supporting frontline communities — those who are the most vulnerable to and will be the most adversely affected by climate change and inequitable actions because of systemic and historical socioeconomic disparities, environmental injustice or other forms of injustice.
Projects supported under the Climate-Ready Workforce initiative will connect people with and train them for equitable, quality public and private-sector jobs.
All projects selected through this competition will be demand-driven and will support Americans in securing and retaining quality jobs that measurably enhance climate resilience in coastal states, tribes and territories.
By participating in efforts funded by the Climate-Ready Workforce Initiative, people will be placed into jobs that measurably enhance their communities’ resilience to climate-related impacts — while making those communities safer, more equitable and economically stronger.
Experts and resources from NOAA’s Climate Program Office, Office for Coastal Management, and National Sea Grant Office and their partners will be available to provide technical assistance to applicants and recipients to support these innovative efforts.
This competition is one component of NOAA’s Climate-Ready Coasts and Communities Initiative, supported by Inflation Reduction Act funds. The Inflation Reduction Act is a historic federal government-wide investment that provides $3.3 billion for NOAA to build on its commitment to help Americans — including tribes and vulnerable populations — prepare, adapt and build resilience to weather and climate events; improve supercomputing capacity and research on weather, the ocean and climate; strengthen NOAA’s hurricane hunter aircraft and fleet; and replace aging NOAA facilities.
Letters of intent are required and due by November 30, 2023, with applications due by February 13, 2024.
Photo (courtesy of Larry Beggs, Reef Innovations Inc.) shows Florida Sea Grant-trained marine contractors work to install concrete domes that form the basis of an oyster reef.