Families and Workers Fund Launches $50 Million Initiative to Advance One Million Good Careers in Climate and Infrastructure

Fund Reaches $110 Million in Total Investment With “Powering Climate & Infrastructure Careers for All” Initiative to Help Build the Workforce Needed for the United States’ Clean Energy Transition
November 14, 2023 – Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C — The Families and Workers Fund today announced Powering Climate and Infrastructure Careers for All, a collaborative philanthropic effort to help tackle the serious workforce implementation challenges facing the United States on its path toward a net-zero economy and 21st-century infrastructure. This groundbreaking, $50 million initiative propels the Fund’s total commitments to more than $110 million, up from an initial $7 million invested at launch in April 2020. Combining grants and technical assistance to nonprofits, state and local governments, training and education providers, and private sector employer groups, the new initiative aims to help advance at least one million uplifting careers in the booming clean energy and infrastructure industries.

Recognizing a once-in-a-generation chance to advance economic opportunity and good job creation, the initiative is designed to complement $2 trillion in federal investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and other recent legislation, as well as private sector investment. These laws are projected to create 15 million jobs in the next decade, yet companies are struggling to hire and retain enough talent to keep up with today’s demands. The Fund’s efforts will help connect people in underinvested communities—especially women, rural and low-income communities, and people facing racial inequities—to uplifting careers in clean energy, construction, and other specialized industries. The initiative will advance a two-part strategy: 1) investing directly in catalytic models for training that can scale to help address labor supply gaps; and 2) supporting state and local government agencies and their community partners to plan for and implement good job creation and inclusive workforce development.

“Good climate jobs are key to achieving a just, equitable and sustainable future for us all,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation and Families and Workers Fund Co-Chair.  “Philanthropy has a vital role to play to augment historic federal investments and ensure the benefits of this once-in-a-generation transition extend to every corner of our society, especially to those who have traditionally been left behind.”

“As we prepare individuals for the jobs of tomorrow, it’s critical that workers from all backgrounds and communities have access to and can fully participate in the economic growth sparked by innovations in the clean energy sector. Initiatives like this one play an important role in better connecting the public and private sectors, helping us realize the potential for good job creation at a time of historic investment,” said Tim Berry, Global Head of Corporate Responsibility and Chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Region, JPMorgan Chase. “Today’s announcement is part of our ongoing commitment to create long-term solutions that advance economic inclusion.”

Launching as part of National Apprenticeship Week, the Fund will focus in particular on industry-driven training and equity in the energy and infrastructure workforce. Among $10 million in initial grants are funding for Colorado’s Workforce Development Council to support inclusive workforce development and planning and for Resilience Force, a nonprofit that supports workers in the climate resilience industry through training, good job creation strategies, and advocacy.

“I’d been doing grunt work in construction, but my training helped me get an OSHA certification and learn about everything from environmental stewardship to wiring and solar components,” said Cleo Anukam, who secured a job as a home solar installer and has since risen to warehouse manager. “I believe that the solar industry is crucial to our future, and it means a lot to me that I’m a part of something so great.”

“With the U.S. Government’s historic commitments and hundreds of billions more in private sector investments, a clean energy boom is underway across the country,” said Rachel Korberg, Executive Director of the Families and Workers Fund. “Through collective action, philanthropy can help this wave of investment translate into good job creation and economic opportunity for millions.”

As momentum builds, fundraising for the Powering Climate and Infrastructure Careers initiative is ongoing, with the total financial commitment expected to grow throughout 2024. Philanthropies interested in joining this collaborative effort are encouraged to contact the Fund at familiesandworkers.org/contact-us.

Government agencies and nonprofit organizations engaged in climate and infrastructure projects may explore funding opportunities within the Powering Climate and Infrastructure Careers Challenge, now live and accepting applications through January 19, 2024. Detailed information about eligibility, application processes, and selection criteria is available at familiesandworkers.org/challenge.

About the Families and Workers Fund

The Families and Workers Fund is a platform for collective action and a pooled $110+ million collaborative fund co-chaired by the Ford Foundation and Schmidt Futures and supported by 40 diverse funders working together to build a more equitable economy that uplifts all. The Fund deploys catalytic partnerships and collaboration across philanthropy, government, and the private sector to advance jobs that sustain and uplift people and to develop a more inclusive, effective public benefits system. To date, the Fund has committed nearly $43 million in grants and strategic partnerships, impacted more than 1.4 million people, and leveraged more than $15 billion in additional public and private investments. Key funders of this work include the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ascendium Education Group, the Autodesk Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Invest in Our Future, the James Irvine Foundation, JP Morgan Chase & Co., the Joyce Foundation, the JPB Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and Truist Foundation. The Families and Workers Fund is housed at the Amalgamated Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) charity.



YK Vandekamp