Patrick Murphy Fights to Prepare Students for Green Energy Jobs
8th District Congressman Passes Amendment to Make it Easier for Schools to Train Students for Emerging Careers in Innovation and Green Energy
Meeting our country's green energy needs will require a new generation of skilled technical workers. Despite the growing need, the number of high school students with advanced technical training is actually declining. To help train students for careers in green energy, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) worked with Washington State Congressman Brian Baird (D-3rd District) to include a provision that gives technical schools better access to advanced equipment and technology. Baird is the head of the Career and Technical Education caucus. Today, the House of Representatives passed The 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act, which authorizes nearly $7 billion in grants for improvements to aging public schools. Murphy's amendment to this bill ensures that the funds can be spent by schools, particularly technical schools, to purchase equipment that trains students for work in the growing green energy industry. Murphy's measure clarifies the original legislation by authorizing funds that can be spent by local school districts to modernize their career and technical facilities. These improvements will address the challenges of training the 21st Century "green workforce." The amendment specifically allows for the modernization, renovation, replacing or repair of facilities for career and technical education programs including those related to the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.
Earlier this year, Congressman Murphy created a "Green Energy Jobs and Economic Development Working Group" to discuss how to produce a technically-skilled workforce for Bucks County, which has become a green energy hub. One of the group's key findings was a lack of updated training equipment and technology at the technical schools in Bucks County and not enough funding to replace outdated equipment or upgrade facilities. To truly prepare students for careers in green manufacturing and other renewable energy industries, schools must have the best available equipment and technology for advanced welding, electrical, nanotechnology and other educational programs.
"Faced with the record price of gas and a dangerous dependence on foreign oil, we must harness new technology to meet our energy needs. We can innovate our way to green energy but we need to prepare students who want to join a green workforce," said Congressman Patrick Murphy. "By providing access to new equipment and technology, we can help schools prepare students for green collar' jobs and lead our country to a renewable energy future."
"As our country works to address the major challenge posed by global warming, we must give our young people the skills needed to perform the green jobs of today and tomorrow," said U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. "Thanks to the hard work of Congressmen Murphy and Baird, the bill passed by the House today will help produce a new generation of workers ready to create a more sustainable and energy efficient future for our country."
"There is a growing demand for skilled workers in America, specifically for companies looking to promote green jobs. As co-founder of the Career and Technical Education Caucus, I have been working to ensure that career and technical education programs have the resources they need to meet those areas with the greatest need, including the green workforce," said Rep. Baird. "By equipping students with the tools they need to become involved in growing green industries, we are not only strengthening America's workforce, but also investing in renewable-energy initiatives and improving the environment."
A major national investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency could create more than three million jobs over the next ten years. These are sustainable, profitable jobs. However, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the lack of skilled workers is the largest non-technical barrier to the advancement of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
About The 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act
H.R. 3021 authorizes nearly $7 billion in grants for the modernization, renovation and repair of public school facilities, most of which are over 40 years old. Eligible projects include repair of faulty air systems, lead abatement, asbestos removal, and technology access installation. Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA), head of the Career and Technical Education Caucus, included language in the legislation to ensure technical schools are eligible for funds so they can modernize and prepare the 21st century workforce. Murphy and Baird worked together to include this measure in the final legislation.