Building off years of partnership with New York and national labor leaders to foster high-quality, climate-friendly employment that advances equity, the ILR School Climate Jobs Institute is launching Jan. 25 in New York City.
It is the first U.S. academic institution focused on conducting research and developing policy for governments across the nation to support clean energy targets and create union jobs that help drive a more inclusive and equitable economy, said Alexander Colvin, Ph.D., ’99, ILR’s Kenneth F. Kahn ’69 Dean and Martin F. Scheinman ’75, M.S. ’76, Professor of Conflict Resolution.
“The monumental shift toward decarbonization is supported at Cornell through the 2030 Project and many other university entities,” Colvin said. “The ILR School, which is part of the project, is focused on helping unions, state and city governments, businesses and others across the nation meet climate targets while creating jobs that improve equity for people who are excluded from economic opportunity by race, gender and other factors.”
Labor coalitions in Maine, Rhode Island, Illinois, Texas, New York state and New York City have adopted plans developed by the institute. Its director, Lara Skinner, was instrumental in building a New York labor coalition to create climate jobs in the aftermath of the 2012 Hurricane Sandy, the most devastating Atlantic hurricane on record. In New York City alone, it killed dozens and resulted in economic losses of nearly $20 billion.
Labor Leading on Climate, part of ILR’s Worker Institute and the precursor of the institute, fostered the labor-led U.S. climate jobs movement. The Climate Jobs Institute, based at the ILR School offices in Manhattan, has a statewide presence, with team members also located in Albany and Ithaca. The institute is part of ILR’s Center for Applied Research on Work and is the academic partner of the Climate Jobs National Resource Center.
Skinner said: “The Climate Job Institute’s mission is to guide New York and the nation in building a strong, equitable and resilient clean energy economy that tackles the climate crisis, creates high-quality union jobs, confronts racial and gender inequality, and builds a diverse and inclusive workforce.
“Now more than ever, policymakers, the labor and environmental movements, industry leaders and others need an institute to help them navigate this historic moment. Through applied research expertise, deep relationships with incredible partners, and innovative training and education programs, the institute is helping build a future that makes clean energy careers available to the working people who have been hit hardest by the climate crisis,” said Skinner, who is on the 2030 Project’s faculty advisory board.
Climate jobs include roles in areas such as public transportation, manufacturing and new and retrofit construction.
An event celebrating the new institute is scheduled for Jan. 25 at 5 p.m. in ILR’s New York City office. The celebration is co-sponsored by Climate Jobs New York and the Climate Jobs National Resource Center.
Mary Catt is director of communications for the ILR School.