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Letter to Tom Harkin and Arlen Specter, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, Re: Investments in Green Jobs Training

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Location: Washington, DC


Letter to Tom Harkin and Arlen Specter, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, Re: Investments in Green Jobs Training

Clinton Calls for Important Investments in Green Jobs Training

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today joined a group of lawmakers in urging Senate Leaders to support Green Job training initiatives. In a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies the Senators called for full funding of the Green Jobs training program at the maximum $125 million authorized by P.L. 110-140. Clinton and her colleagues underscored the need for skilled workers to support the production, installation, and maintenance of clean energy technologies.

"Investing in clean energy has the potential to create millions of new American jobs in the next decade, but we must ensure that our workers possess the skills required by these new technologies. We must make green job training a priority so that our workforce is prepared as America moves toward a clean energy economy," said Senator Clinton.

Last year, Senator Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) secured Senate approval of their green job training proposal, which would authorize new programs to train workers for "green collar jobs" that involve the design, manufacturing, installation, operation, and maintenance of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The Sanders-Clinton initiative would establish an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce Training Program to be administered by the Department of Labor in coordination with the Department of Energy.

The recently enacted Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 provides Congress with opportunities for a Green Collar Jobs Initiative that will help move the country towards energy independence and will build a new and growing sector of the economy. Full funding of the Green Jobs Training program will help ensure that workers acquire the required skills to fill these specialized positions as they are created.

The text of the Senators' letter is below.

April 4, 2008

The Honorable Tom Harkin
Chairman
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and
Human Services, and Education,
and Related Agencies
Senate Committee on Appropriations
131 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Arlen Specter
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and
Human Services, and Education,
and Related Agencies
Senate Committee on Appropriations
156 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Specter:

We write to urge your support for full funding of the Green Jobs training program that was authorized in P.L. 110-140. This program will fill a critical need as we transition to clean energy by ensuring that we have skilled workers needed to support the production, installation, and maintenance of clean energy technologies.

A major national investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency could create more than three million jobs over the next ten years. According to a 2006 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), however, the lack of skilled workers is the largest non-technical barrier to the advancement of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The Green Jobs training program directly responds to the need recognized by NREL.

In fact, Title X of P.L. 110-140, Green Jobs, created a sustainable, comprehensive public program to be administered by the Secretary of Labor that will provide quality training for jobs created through renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. The Green Jobs training program serves a threefold purpose. First, it would expand our nation's capacity to identify and track the new jobs and skills associated with the growing clean energy and efficiency industries. Second, through grants given on a competitive basis, it would fund partnerships between community colleges, labor unions, private industry and organizations to train between 20,000 - 30,000 new workers each year for high quality jobs. Finally, it authorizes resources for demonstration projects to provide low-income workers with a pathway out of poverty and into the emerging clean energy economy. Given the interest in transitioning toward a new energy economy and providing Americans with quality jobs, it is no surprise that this title of the energy bill was supported by renewable energy industry associations, environmental organizations, community groups, and organized labor.

With the current economic climate, many of our families and businesses are facing an unknown future. The Green Jobs program will make it possible for people from all socio-economic backgrounds to secure a sound financial future by giving them the skills they need to compete for jobs in the 21st Century. Our economy will also benefit by this investment in these high-growth and demand fields. And, of course, our environment will benefit as we focus on the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

This investment in our nation's workforce is one that will provide long term positive benefits. We urge you to provide the fully-authorized level of funding for this program ($125 million) through the Fiscal Year 2009 Appropriations process and through other available opportunities. We thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,


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