Ulster County will become one of the first counties in the country to undertake a large-scale universal basic income pilot program
Funded through the generosity of community donations, Ulster County will be providing 100 qualifying households with direct relief payments of $500 a month for an entire year
County Executive Ryan outlined his first of three major initiatives that will simultaneously protect our environment, boost our economy, and help realize a Green New Deal in Ulster County
On Earth Day, County Executive Ryan will outline a comprehensive, multi-pronged plan to further build on Green New Deal efforts
KINGSTON, N.Y. – County Executive Pat Ryan delivered his second State of the County Address premiering live on Facebook(link is external). County Executive Ryan reflected on the resilience, compassion, and ingenuity our community has shown during the challenges of the past year and unveiled new initiatives that will drive the future of our County as we emerge from the pandemic, including investments in solidifying Ulster County’s position as a leader in the green economy and a Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilot program.
Universal Basic Income Pilot Program
“Amidst the pandemic’s devastation, we have our first opportunity in a generation to think about creative and innovative ways to help people in need,” Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said. “I’m very excited that in 2021 Ulster County will become one of the first counties in the country to undertake a large-scale universal basic income pilot program — where we’ll provide much-needed economic relief directly to families throughout the county. By teaming up with one of the world’s leaders on UBI, we can start to better understand what $500 a month for an entire year will mean for a single parent, a recent SUNY Ulster graduate, or a member of our senior community.”
Ulster County will become one of the first counties in the country to undertake a large-scale universal basic income pilot program. This program will provide much-needed economic relief directly to families throughout the county. Through a partnership between Project Resilience, the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income, Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, and Ulster Savings Bank, Ulster County will be providing 100 qualifying households with direct relief payments of $500 a month for an entire year, all funded through the generosity of community donations.
Residents looking to participate must have an annual income of $46,900 or below. To check your eligibility and apply for the program fill out a survey at ProjectResilienceUBI.com(link is external) by March 15th. Qualifying participants will be selected through a lottery system managed by the University of Pennsylvania.
“UPENN’s Center for Guaranteed Income and Research is excited to partner with Ulster County on their Project Resilience UBI program,” Dr. Stacia West and Dr. Amy Baker, Center for Guaranteed Income Research, University of Pennsylvania said. “We have worked with cities across the country, but this will be the first demonstration of its kind in a rural area. We are looking forward to adding this unique perspective to the knowledge base and national dialogue on Basic Income. We look forward to seeing how $500 per month in cash may positively impact the lives of Ulster County residents.”
“I am so pleased to see Ulster County launching a Universal Basic Income Pilot for residents who are experiencing significant financial hardship,” President & CEO of United Way of Ulster County Stacey Rein said. “Because poverty is related to poor health and nutrition, destabilized neighborhoods, and low academic performance, I applaud the County for initiating this innovative approach to improving outcomes for our most vulnerable residents.”
“Ulster Savings Bank is very excited to partner with Ulster County on this first of its kind program for our area,” Ulster Savings Bank President Bill Calderara said. “County Executive Pat Ryan has been a real partner and has shown great support and leadership in the midst of this pandemic. It is our hope that this program will be yet another initiative that will directly help our residents as we continue to rebuild from the pandemic.”
A Green New Deal for Ulster County
“Rather than reverting back to our pre-pandemic economy, where far too many were already living paycheck-to-paycheck, we will lean into the future economy — further accelerating our work to implement a Green New Deal here in Ulster County. We will prove that taking aggressive climate action is not only the morally right thing to do, but that it will position us as an economic leader in the State and across the nation,” County Executive Pat Ryan said. “Today, we announce three major initiatives that will simultaneously protect our environment and boost our economy. These initiatives are part of a larger comprehensive, multi-pronged plan to further build on our Green New Deal in Ulster County efforts. We can not just tackle the challenges of today, we must look forward and lay the groundwork for a greener, more equitable, and more just society.”
Since Day One, A Green New Deal For Ulster County has been one of County Executive Ryan’s top priorities. During this first week in office, he signed an Executive Order committing to an aggressive goal: transitioning our county operations to 100% renewable energy by 2030. Over the last 18 months, even in the midst of the pandemic, the County has made continued progress towards this goal — putting battery-powered buses on the road, turning brownfields into solar fields, and training a new generation of workers in the expanding clean technology industry.
Ulster County Green Business Champions
The County will be launching a ground-breaking public-private partnership to more aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, in Ulster County, about 20% of these emissions come from the private sector. The County is launching the Ulster County Green Business Champions program to mobilize businesses to take climate action and make their business greener, and to recognize businesses who are already leading in these efforts. The program will provide direct support to local businesses in planning and implementing green investments — such as improving energy efficiency and using renewable energy. It will also help business access financing and celebrate those who lead the way.
The County will begin efforts to dramatically accelerate local renewable energy generation through community solar production and distribution. Through the County’s new Solarize Ulster program, without having to install any solar panels or equipment at one’s home, any resident can essentially “plug in” to a nearby community solar array. This will allow residents to be part of making the Green New Deal a reality, and it will also lower their utility bills and save them money at a time when financial pressures are great on all residents.
Green Careers Academy
In 2019, Ulster County launched its Green Careers Academy in partnership with SUNY Ulster. This year, the County will significantly expand the Green Careers Academy, building a more robust pipeline to help put people back to work post-pandemic in the rapidly expanding green jobs sector. A growing need to build green infrastructure in the coming decade requires a highly-skilled workforce, which the Green Careers Academy will help to develop. The County will dramatically bolster the Green Careers Academy by bringing on a host of new partners including Ulster BOCES, Bard College, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Central Hudson, Citizens for Local Power, Habitat for Humanity, the Climate Reality Project, and several local labor unions to help train residents and help them secure good-paying green jobs. The Ulster County Career Center will help job seekers access training and job opportunities in a range of green fields.
“The Green Business Champions program will provide businesses and institutions with practical guidance to help them both save money and reduce climate emissions,” Manna Jo Greene, Ulster County Legislator & Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee said. “I am grateful and proud to see the County taking the lead to help them do so. Collectively our business can have a huge impact.”
“Citizens for Local Power applauds County Executive Ryan for his leadership in championing a Green New Deal for Ulster County, including the County’s strong and consistent commitment to the creation of a green jobs workforce and its focus on helping community members make existing housing healthier and more energy efficient,” Susan Gillespie, Board President of Citizens for Local Power said. “We look forward to continuing to partner with Ulster County to build a locally-based, equitable clean energy economy.”
“Energy Conservation Services is proud to be a member of the Ulster County Green Careers Coalition,” said Melinda McKnight, Vice President & CFO of Energy Conservation Services, Inc. said. “As a building performance contractor, we transition buildings off fossil fuels and improve indoor environments, and we are always looking for good job candidates to do this work with us. Thank you to County Executive Ryan for his commitment to growing a green economy here in Ulster County. We are looking forward to working alongside the County to achieve these shared goals.”
“I am excited to see County Executive Ryan announce the expansion of Ulster County’s Green New Deal in the State of the County,” Tim Guinee, Co-Chair of the Hudson Valley and Catskills Climate Reality Chapter said. “These initiatives are absolutely the direction we need to go to solve the climate crisis, create high quality green jobs, and accelerate the transition to local renewable energy.”
These initiatives — including Solarize Ulster, the Green Careers Academy, and the Green Business Champions program — are all part of Ulster County’s broader Green New Deal efforts. Throughout 2021, the County will continue to announce and launch additional Green New Deal initiatives. Looking ahead to Earth Day on April 22nd, County Executive Ryan will outline a comprehensive, multi-pronged plan to further build on the Green New Deal in Ulster County.
These programs are a part of County Executive Ryan’s Ulster 2040 Strategy. The primary goal of Ulster 2040 is to align and focus the County’s economic, workforce and community development investments over the next two decades toward a set of targeted focus sectors, and to identify the necessary steps to ensure that all County residents will benefit from a growing and changing economy.