Today Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA) announced that his amendment to create a competitive grant program for colleges, including two year institutions, that create or expand green energy programs has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. His legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA), would help community colleges develop the skilled scientific and technical workforce necessary to meet the serious energy challenges of the 21st century. The program was passed as part of the America COMPETES Act, a bill to strengthen investments in math, science, technology, and engineering education.
"Helping community colleges establish Green Jobs Training programs will increase the competitiveness of our workforce globally and prepare our students for sustainable energy jobs that are high-paying and can't be outsourced," said Congressman Patrick Murphy.
"Congressman Murphy has been a driving force in bringing new green energy companies - and the quality jobs that come with them - to Bucks County," said Michael Peck, Director of External Relations for Gamesa USA North America. "As a local renewable energy manufacturing company, this is exactly the kind of program we need to ensure our people are equipped to work in this globally competitive, fast-paced and growing field."
Energy experts predict that global economic growth will lead to a 50% increase in worldwide energy consumption by 2025, meaning that workers trained in the field of renewable energy and sustainability will be in high demand and a vital component of the 21st century workforce. Rep. Murphy's Green Jobs Training Grant will help community colleges advance the energy sciences education and the career opportunities of their students.
The grants would support quality programs such as The Green Jobs Academy at Bucks County Community College. The Congressman helped create this training program, in coordination with private industry partners and Drexel University, to provide Bucks County students the training they need to work in the growing green energy field in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The program provides both long and shorter-term training programs geared toward workers in the green and sustainability industries. Students are offered courses in subjects including green construction, sustainable building, and wind energy technology. The grant program would help to replicate this successful model nationwide.
America COMPETES Act is supported by a wide range of business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In their endorsement, the Chamber stated that the bill will "strengthen U.S. competitiveness by improving America's scientific and economic leadership, and making stronger investments in science, innovation, research, and education."