Mikulski Calls For Investment In Green Job Workforce - Southern Maryland Headline News

Mikulski Calls For Investment In Green Job Workforce


WASHINGTON (April 5, 2008) - Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) on Wednesday joined a bipartisan group of her colleagues led by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in calling for the resources to ensure the nation has the skilled workers necessary to help the country transition to a clean energy economy. In a letter to Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Senator Mikulski urged them to fully fund the Green Jobs training program that was authorized in last year's energy bill.

"The American public needs relief - real solutions to what we are going to do to become energy independent. The world is facing a climate crisis, and people are nervous about rising energy costs," said Senator Mikulski. "We need to keep America rolling. The Green Jobs workforce training program helps our country take important steps to prepare us for the future, while at the same time creating more jobs."

The lack of a skilled workforce is the largest non-technical barrier to the advancement of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, according to a 2006 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The Green Jobs program addresses this problem by creating a sustainable, comprehensive public program to provide quality training for jobs created through renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. A major national investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency could also create more than three million jobs over the next ten years.

Source: Senator Barbara A. Mikulski's Office

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.

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