Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) introduced the Grants for Renewable Energy Education for the Nation (GREEN) Act to help train a workforce in clean energy fields. Congressman McNerney is the only renewable energy expert in Congress and sits on the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce.
"I have seen firsthand many jobs created in the clean energy sector. As someone with 25 years of experience in the wind energy sector, I know that these fields are dynamic and create good-paying, family-wage jobs that are so needed in today's economy," said Congressman McNerney.
The GREEN Act fulfills a key need by creating a bridge between secondary and postsecondary schools so that students can transition from high school with technical knowledge that will be expanded and honed in a postsecondary environment. The bill allocates competitive grant funding for clean energy career and technical training programs. Post-secondary institutions, local education agencies, career and technical schools, and community partners will use the grants to enter into partnerships to develop these training programs. The bill also provides opportunities for technical schools to upgrade their own energy systems to serve as model training facilities.
"These new and exciting clean energy technologies have enormous potential to grow our economy and move us towards a sustainable energy future. By creating partnerships in the renewable energy fields, we will be preparing young Americans to develop and maintain the clean energy systems of our future," said McNerney.
Today, nearly three million Americans are employed in the clean energy sector, which is more than the amount of people working in the fossil fuel industry, and twice as many as those employed in the biotech industry. In fact, the clean energy sector has grown nearly twice as fast as the overall economy. The clean energy industries have proved to create jobs faster than other industries, producing employment growth for workers with or without a college degree. Additionally, the jobs created in the clean energy fields pay better than the average American job, with compensation rates 13 percent higher than the national average. [Economic Policy Institute, 10/10/12; Time Magazine, 7/13/11]
The GREEN Act is endorsed by the Association for Career and Technical Education and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Constortium.
"The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) strongly supports the Grants for Renewable Energy Education for the Nation (GREEN) Act. Career and technical education (CTE) offers students exposure to the range of sustainable energy career options available today, while providing the education and training necessary to ensure that our nation's workforce is prepared for the green jobs of the future. The GREEN Act builds on these efforts by encouraging CTE institutions to further develop technical programs of study that lead to careers in the green energy field. We applaud Congressman McNerney for introducing this legislation that emphasizes the important role of CTE in the growing and evolving energy industry." - Steve DeWitt, Deputy Executive Director, Association for Career and Technical Education
"We applaud Congressman McNerney's introduction of the Grants for Renewable Energy Education Act. Promoting energy efficient Career Technical Education facilities and supporting the development of Career Technical Education programs of study in the fields of clean energy, renewable energy, and energy efficiency will ensure that the United States has the workforce needed to build, support and maintain the energy infrastructure essential for our country's future." - Kimberly Green, Executive Director, National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium