County Executive Ryan Unveils Green Initiatives Ahead of his First State of the County Address

Posted January 16, 2020

$249,700 in grant funding for the Green Careers Academy at SUNY Ulster by NYSERDA

Launches new investment in young people to strengthen the County’s position as a leader in the green economy and ensure career paths for young people 

KINGSTON, N.Y. – County Executive Pat Ryan announced today his proposal to expand green career opportunities for the next generation in advance of his first-ever State of the County address. Included in this initiative is increased resources for the first-ever Ulster County Green Careers Academy in partnership with SUNY Ulster. County Executive Ryan announced that the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded $249,700 to SUNY Ulster designated to help the County build a skilled clean energy workforce with focused outreach to individuals who have not had access to clean energy training. The funding will go directly towards tuition assistance for Ulster County residents. Additionally, the County Executive is launching a new Green Youth Fellowship that will offer paid internships for young people to explore career paths and gain skills in the environmental and green business sector. 

“From my first day in office, defending and protecting our environment and introducing innovative ways to address the climate crisis has been one of my top priorities,” said County Executive Ryan. “These new initiatives are a significant step forward in solidifying Ulster County as the epicenter of an emerging green economy as we work for a more sustainable future here in Ulster County and beyond.” 

“It’s hard to express the gratitude I feel for NYSERDA’s generous funding of Executive Ryan’s innovative ‘Green Careers Academy,’ which will not only create jobs for Ulster County residents but tangible pathways to address the climate crisis,” said Tim Guinee, Chairman of the Hudson Valley and Catskills Climate Reality Chapter.

Unveiled in the County Executive’s 2020 Budget, the Green Careers Academy is a new eight-week training program that will equip students with the skills and expertise necessary to begin careers in the expanding clean technology industry. This unique program, created through a public-private partnership, offers free or reduced tuition to certify Ulster County’s youth, active volunteer firefighters, veterans, and low-income and long-term unemployed people in entry-level clean technology courses enabling them to apply for work in one of the many clean technology companies in Ulster County. Tuition assistance will also be made available for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, women, and others who have found placement in these industries difficult. 

Upon graduation from these programs, the Green Careers Academy will partner with local energy efficiency companies to place students into local internships and on-the-job training programs. The Green Careers Academy will also develop workshops on Clean Technology for those at the Ulster County Jail.

The Green Youth Fellowship will recruit, place, and pay high school and college students to work at partnering green businesses and nonprofits in Ulster County. The goal is to connect young people to local job opportunities so that they can have a workforce pathway to stay in Ulster County while at the same time increasing participating organizations and businesses capacity and providing mentorship for the next generation of green leaders. 

“We are thrilled that Ulster County is launching this new Green Fellowship Initiative,” said Maxanne Resnick, Executive Director of the Woodstock Land Conservancy. “This is a win-win for both nonprofits like ours and for young people who are passionate about the environment. We've had interns who have made an immeasurable difference in the work we do, as their training from their course and fieldwork is invaluable. We also appreciate the energy they bring to our mission.”

“Getting young people to stay in Ulster County while at the same time helping nonprofits like ours build more trails and preserve more open spaces is the right direction for Ulster County,” said Christie DeBoer, Executive Director of the Wallkill Valley Land Trust. “I am so glad to see the County taking action with their promises to support the environment.”

Fellows will also be connected to a network of like-minded students who will meet annually to network, share ideas, and be a support base as they launch into their chosen environmental organizations in Ulster County. Organizations that are interested in participating would work with our Department of Employment and Training to complete an application, worksite agreement and, once accepted, an orientation on the program.

The Green Careers Academy and the Green Youth Fellowship program are part of County Executive Ryan’s vision for a Green New Deal for Ulster County and his commitment to making Ulster County one of the greenest county in New York State. These initiatives both aim to equip the next generation of leaders with the tools necessary to help them gain employment in the environmental and green business sector, while also directly tackling the County’s sustainability goals. 

County Executive Pat Ryan will be delivering his State of the County address on Thursday, January 30 at Kingston High School, marking the first time a County Executive has delivered this address at a high school for an audience of students and community members. County Executive Ryan graduated from Kingston High School in 2000.