News & Updates

News & Updates

Virtual Conference Focuses on Green Construction

Building, workforce and academic experts gathered in February to present the virtual conference “Why Green Construction? Why Now?”

Funded by a grant from the statewide program California Climate Investments, the conference featured a range of speakers and panelists who explained and discussed green construction now and into the future. The conference was presented in collaboration with that program, ValleyBuild, the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board and California State University, Bakersfield Extended Education. 

In part, green construction focuses on building with an emphasis on environmental responsibility and efficient use of resources both short and long term. That can mean prioritizing the use of recycled or renewable materials, conserving and reusing water and designing lasting energy efficiencies, for example.

Jimmy Mitchell of Skanska USA, a leading construction and development company, provided the keynote address and outlined some of the company’s green construction projects and sustainability efforts. He said it has become easier and less costly to embrace green practices. “Technology really has advanced to the point where it’s not as big of a burden,” Mitchell said.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom is investing billions in a program designed in part to fight climate change by taking steps to curb pollution and also train workers for clean energy jobs.

Tim Rainey, executive director of the California Workforce Development Board, discussed climate goals and federal money flowing into the state to help build and transition the economy to carbon neutrality over the next few decades. He called it a huge opportunity to impact employment and create access to jobs for people historically locked out of the middle class.

“We don’t talk about green jobs. We talk about how current jobs are changing and what training needs to be there to help workers transition.”  Tim Rainey, Executive Director, California Workforce Development Board

“It’s going to supercharge our ability to get at economic equity,” Rainey said.

As part of the general discussion, “we don’t talk about green jobs,” he said. “We talk about how current jobs are changing and what training needs to be there to help workers transition to make this clean, carbon-neutral economy a reality for everybody.”