Historically disadvantaged communities across New York are getting a $6 million investment in climate justice through 150 fellowships provided by the state – and interested New Yorkers are being urged to apply.

The fellowships are being provided to those living and working in communities deemed disadvantaged by the state, which includes much of central and east Brooklyn, and those from priority populations, including individuals that are low income, disabled, homeless, formerly incarcerated, residents of environmental justice communities, veterans and Native Americans, among others.

Selected fellows will work with community-based organizations, universities, municipalities, climate tech innovators/start-ups and clean energy businesses on community engagement activities, clean energy project development and implementation, partnership building, clean energy start-ups, or other projects that advance climate justice and clean energy priorities in disadvantaged communities.

Governor Kathy Hochul said the new three-year program would support an equitable clean energy transition, adding the fellowships were part of a new and creative approach to supporting climate justice and clean energy training for people living in disadvantaged communities, while creating career paths for future generations of New Yorkers.

“This funding will give New Yorkers from underrepresented backgrounds a fresh opportunity to participate in our economy,” she said.

“It’s critical that we focus on creating an inclusive green energy marketplace by capturing the ideas, talent, and expertise of New Yorkers as we work to achieve the state’s ambitious climate goals.”

The program, administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, is seeking applications from host employers to support the professional development, training, and mentoring of full-time fellows.

Around 50 fellowships will be funded in 2021 and up to 100 fellowships through 2023. Hochul said State and federal agencies, non-profits, foundations, and other partners would work together to leverage existing resources and wrap-around services such as transportation and childcare services, training, and professional development opportunities.

Brooklyn Senator Kevin Parker said addressing climate justice was a key component to achieving the energy goals for the State, and he applauded Hochul and NYSERDA for making a commitment to invest in the fellows who would work in-house with various organizations on clean energy project development and implementation.

Funding for the Climate Justice Fellowship Program is provided through the Clean Energy Fund, as well as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and is part of a nearly $120 million commitment by NYSERDA to support existing workforce development and training initiatives.

Applications must be submitted by 3:00pm on October 28, 2021. Host employers must apply to the program with a fellow candidate identified. Employers will need to provide an outline of specific activities the fellow will undertake over the 12-month period.

NYSERDA will conduct an informational webinar on September 16, 2021 at 10:00am to review the solicitation requirements and answer questions. Interested attendees can register by emailing to WFinfo@nyserda.ny.gov with the subject line “PON 4772 Climate Justice Fellowship” to request further information.

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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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