Today, Governor Jared Polis signed the Fund Just Transition Community and Worker Supports bill, allocating funds for just transition programs throughout coal communities in Colorado. The bill builds upon landmark Just Transition legislation passed in 2019, which established a Just Transition Office in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and created a Just Transition Advisory Committee tasked with the development of a just transition plan for the State of Colorado.
“Today’s bill signing reaffirms Colorado’s commitment to a just transition,” said BlueGreen Alliance Western States Director Chris Markuson. “It comes at a critical moment, giving people and regions more resources to define and build a prosperous future. Continuing to allocate funding to energy transition communities remains vital to ensure that workers and communities are not left behind as we shift to a cleaner economy.”
The bill includes funding for community economic development and worker assistance programs such as apprenticeship programs, individualized financial planning, and job search assistance.
“House Bill 19-1314, which created the Office of Just Transition, declared that Colorado has a moral imperative to support the workers and communities that have powered our state for generations to transition to high-quality, clean union jobs. This second annual investment takes another step toward achieving that outcome,” said Colorado AFL-CIO Executive Director Dennis Dougherty, a member of Colorado’s Just Transition Advisory Committee.
“Colorado’s clean economy is growing and we must make sure that workers have the tools they need to find good-paying jobs and communities have the resources they need to grow new businesses and diversify their economies,” said Katie Belgard, Director of Government Affairs for Conservation Colorado. “This proactive investment in Colorado workers and communities will help them move away from depending on the coal industry.”
“IBEW 111 has been fighting to make sure that our members have been treated fairly and with dignity,” said Richard Meisinger, Business Manager of IBEW 111 and a member of Colorado’s Just Transition Advisory Committee. “If we want to have a just transition for workers impacted by the shift to clean energy, we have to make investments in both workers and communities. The funding in this bill will help our members facing job loss through no fault of their own get the training they need to find good, skilled jobs in their own communities. ”
“We thank Gov. Polis and the bill’s sponsors, Majority Leader Esgar, Representative Roberts, and Senators Winter and Donovan for their continued leadership on energy transition and look forward to ensuring our work with the legislature on these efforts,” said Markuson.