Skip to Content

Connolly Joins Jayapal, Lawmakers in Introducing the Climate Resilience Workforce Act

Legislation makes bold investments in building a skilled workforce that is capable of preparing for and responding to the climate crisis while creating millions of jobs and centering communities who are disproportionately affected by the harms of climate change

United States Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) joined Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and other lawmakers today in introducing legislation to make bold investments in a workforce capable of preparing for and responding to climate change. The Climate Resilience Workforce Act builds the skilled, equitable, and necessary workforce that America needs to achieve climate resilience while creating millions of good-paying, union jobs and centering the communities who are disproportionately affected by the worsening climate crisis. 

This proposal also funds the development of regional, state, local, and community-based climate resilience action plans. Additionally, it creates an Office of Climate Resilience within the White House, starts new workforce development programs, and removes barriers to employment.

The Climate Resilience Workforce Act would build the workforce our nation needs to achieve climate resilience by:

  • Creating millions of climate resilience jobs through grants to states, counties, cities, tribal governments, labor organizations, and community-based nonprofit organizations.
  • Removing barriers to employment in climate resilience jobs based on immigration status and prior involvement with the criminal justice system by providing a roadmap to citizenship for workers employed in climate resilience sectors or in workforce training programs and prohibiting employers from inquiring about criminal history before an offer has been made.
  • Funding existing workforce development programs and creating new ones through grants that train workers for employment within climate resilience sectors, with a priority for pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs.
  • Investing in the development of regional, state, local and community-based climate resilience action plans that center frontline communities and identify effective strategies to achieve climate resilience.
  • Creating an Office of Climate Resilience within the White House that would focus on planning, worker protection, and equity.

While the severity and frequency of climate disasters has increased at an alarming rate in recent years, the United States currently lacks the necessary workforce to rapidly and completely respond to the crisis. The effects of these worsening climate disasters also disproportionately impact low-income communities, communities of color, and Tribal and Indigenous communities. Additionally, formerly and currently incarcerated individuals and undocumented immigrants play a critical role in supporting climate resilience — from fighting wildfires to helping communities prepare for and recover from climate disasters — yet face significant barriers to employment and threats to their health and safety. 

Today’s legislation is supported by local, national, and international organizations who focus on a diverse but interconnected set of issues — from climate and immigration to criminal justice reform and worker rights. Endorsing organizations include the Architecture Lobby, Data for Progress, Food & Water Watch, 350 Seattle, Sunrise Movement, Casa Latina, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, Resilience Force, Friends of the Earth US, The Union of Concerned Scientists, Sierra Club, Indivisible, Seattle Aquarium, National Immigration Project (NIPNLG), National Immigration Law Center, Make the Road NY, People’s Action, SEIU, The Green New Deal Network, the National Immigrant Justice Center, OneAmerica, and MoveOn.

The legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Karen Bass (CA-37), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Jamaal Bowman Ed.D (NY-16), Cori Bush (MO-01), André Carson (IN-07), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-05), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Andy Levin (MI-09), Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), Marie Newman (IL-03), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At Large), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Adam Smith (WA-09), Thomas R. Suozzi (NY-03), Mark Takano (CA-41), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12). 

A copy of the legislation is available here

Back to top