Clinton Applauds Passage of Green Jobs Energy Amendment
Measure Now Included in Comprehensive Energy Bill
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) announced that the Senate has approved a green job training proposal she introduced with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The measure authorizes 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 amendment is now part of the comprehensive energy bill currently being debated by the Senate.
"To attack global warming, we need to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy," said Senator Clinton. "Deploying these technologies is a win-win that will reduce pollution and create new, good-paying jobs. This important legislation will help to train workers to meet the needs of the growing clean energy sectors of our economy."
"One way to slow global warming is to use energy in a smarter way. An effective and economical way to cut consumption is to make homes and businesses more energy efficient. Trouble is, today you would have a hard time finding workers qualified to do the job," Senator Sanders said. "If we're smart, we can help people make their homes and offices more energy efficient and in the process create millions of good-paying "green jobs'."
The Sanders-Clinton Amendment 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 amendment addresses emerging workforce shortages that could stymie growth of the renewable energy and efficiency industries. A 2006 study from the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) identified the shortage of skills and training as a leading non-technical barrier to renewable energy and energy efficiency growth. In particular, the NREL study identified a number of critical unmet training needs, including lack of reliable installation, maintenance, and inspection services, the shortage of key technical and manufacturing skills, and failure of the educational system to provide adequate training in new technologies. The program established by the Sanders-Clinton amendment would target individuals including veterans, workers displaced by economic globalization, workers seeking pathways out of poverty and into economic self-sufficiency, and individuals in need of updated training. Industries eligible for training services under the program include: energy-efficient building, construction, and retrofits; renewable electric power; advanced automotive drive trains; bio-fuels; and the deconstruction and materials use industries.
The Sanders-Clinton amendment would authorize up to $40 million per year in grants on a competitive basis under a National Training Partnerships program and up to $40 million per year in grants to states to implement labor exchange and training programs. Preference would be given to states that show leadership in promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Eligible entities would include non-profit organizations that are composed of partnerships between industry and labor, taking advantage of established programs in order to ensure the highest-quality training possible. The funding would be sufficient to train between 20,000 and 30,000 workers per year. The Sanders-Clinton amendment also provides up to $20 million per year for national and state industry-wide research, labor market information, and labor exchange programs.
"As Congress advances programs to enhance our energy security and address global warming, workforce shortages are emerging in the utilities sector that could stymie growth of the renewable energy and efficiency industries," Apollo Alliance President Jerome Ringo said. "According to the American Public Power Association, half of current utility workers will retire within the next decade. However, our nation is not training enough new workers to fill their places."
The amendment is supported by a diverse array of renewable energy, labor, trade, environmental, and other groups: Apollo Alliance, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Wider Opportunities for Women, Union of Concerned Scientists, AFL-CIO, National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO), Sierra Club, Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), Solar Energy Industries Association, Clean Water Action, American Wind Energy Association, Earthjustice, American Solar Energy Society, American Council for An Energy Efficient Economy (ASCEE), Public Citizen, Center for American Progress Action Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).