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UC Berkeley Report Urges Use of Certification and Credentialing Programs to Support Greening of Economy

A recent report from the University of California (UC), Berkeley, urges the state to leverage third-party certification and credentialing programs to help achieve its energy goals and maximize job opportunities. Examining workforce readiness is especially critical in California, where energy efficiency efforts are expected to grow dramatically over the next ten years.

The report, California Workforce Education and Training Needs Assessment for Energy Efficiency, Demand Response and Distributed Generation, offers California's first comprehensive analysis of job impacts from the state's energy efficiency policies and workforce preparation in affected occupations. The report was carried out by the Donald Vial Center on Employment in the Green Economy at UC Berkeley's Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.

Looking forward to 2020, the study forecasts that an estimated $11.2 billion in public and private investments in state energy efficiency programs will generate 52,371 full-time, single-year jobs for that year as a direct result of the investments. Two-thirds of these jobs are expected to be in traditional construction trades (e.g., electricians, plumbers and pipefitters, sheet metal workers, carpenters, and construction supervisors), with relatively few in specialized "green" occupations focused on a particular set of energy efficiency-related skills, such as energy auditors or solar installers.

After an in-depth review of three energy efficiency-related markets - heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC); residential home retrofits; and commercial lighting - the study reports serious concerns about work quality. In all three sectors, the key workforce issue that surfaced was the high incidence of poor-quality installation.

According to the report, training alone is not sufficient for achieving proper installation and maintenance of materials and equipment for energy efficiency. Unless building codes and other regulations are enforced, quality standards are placed on contractors, and skill certifications are required, quality problems will undermine efforts to achieve energy efficiency goals and create needed jobs. To help the state meet its energy efficiency goals and maximize the related job opportunities, the study recommends that California do the following:

  • Require contractors who participate in energy efficiency rebate and incentive programs to have third-party certifications, licenses, building permits, and/or meet other relevant standards and certifications. Certification requirements should apply to both workers and contractors.

  • Set clear skill certification requirements for workers doing energy efficiency work and encourage businesses to adopt them, particularly as new technologies are introduced.

  • Support employers who invest in a stable, higher skilled workforce by enforcing building codes and other regulations, setting standards on contractors, and requiring skill certifications for workers.

In its ongoing to commitment to fostering a more robust and qualified American workforce, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is actively engaged in accreditation activities that enhance the credentialing of personnel in a broad range of disciplines and can support the initiatives recommended in the Berkeley report.

Certificate Accreditation Program (ANSI-CAP)
Launched in 2009, ANSI's Certificate Accreditation Program (ANSI-CAP) accredits organizations that issue education and training certificates to the U.S. workforce. The program is the first of its kind to offer a formal, third-party process for review and recognition of quality certificate programs.

Certificate programs are evaluated for potential accreditation against the American National Standard ASTM E2659, Standard Practice for Certificate Programs. By demonstrating compliance to this standard, accredited certificate programs in many disciplines further the development of a well-educated and qualified workforce. Eight certificate issuers have been accredited to date across a broad range of scopes.

Accreditation Program for Personnel Certification Bodies
From energy and engineering to healthcare and food safety, more than 5.2 million professionals hold certifications from organizations accredited under ANSI's personnel certification programs. Since the inception of ANSI's Personnel Certification Accreditation Program in 2003, the Institute has accredited 30 personnel certification bodies in a range of industry sectors.

Because the ANSI accreditation program is based on nationally and internally accepted standards, professionals who pursue an ANSI-accredited certification credential benefit from recognition across state and national jurisdictions. ANSI's accreditation program is based on the international standard ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024, Conformity assessment - General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons.

ANSI is the only personnel certification accreditation body in the U.S. to meet globally accepted practices for accreditation bodies. As such, a number of U.S. government agencies have looked to ANSI accreditation for verification of quality of certification programs and to help improve practices, including the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

For more information on ANSI's accreditation services, visit


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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