Today I had the pleasure of announcing nearly $38 million in grants for the Green Jobs Innovation Fund. The six grantees announced today will help serve more than 9,000 people in 18 states and 39 specific communities. Each of these organizations has demonstrated a strong commitment to a clean energy future, and will develop top-tier training programs that will promote meaningful career pathways for workers in a number of growing green industries.
Today’s announcement is an investment not only in the green energy jobs of today, but also in the green energy economy of tomorrow. Equipping workers with the skills they need to succeed in green industries is an important part of this Administration’s long-term commitment to expanding opportunities for all Americans and getting them back to work.
At a time when everyone is being asked to get creative and do more with less, green jobs initiatives like this is one way we can create opportunity from our current economic challenges. They are also an important part of President Obama’s vision for a cleaner, more responsible future.
The council of economic advisors recently estimated that more than 200,000 clean energy jobs were either created or preserved through the third quarter of 2010. These jobs improve energy efficiency, expand the use of renewable energy, and support environmental sustainability.
They’ll also lessen our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and help to re-build our manufacturing industry and strengthen our middle-class. Green jobs offer a brighter future to those who are already trained in specific occupations – such as welders, electricians, and construction workers. I’ve seen it happen.
I’ve seen it in Detroit where workers who once built Chevy Impala’s are now building the Chevy Volt. I’ve seen it happen at Willard and Kelsey Solar Group in Ohio and at Telgard Battery Recycling plant in North Carolina.
The grants announced today will build on that kind of success and innovation by helping existing programs leverage partnerships with community-based organizations, unions, and employers to build sustainable green career pathways. They’re just one more way we’re working to create a direct pipeline – from the classroom onto to the factory floor, providing participants with the skills and credentials that meet the needs of 21st century employers.
The bottom line: These investments in clean energy job training are good for the environment, they’re good for the American worker, and they’re good for our economy, too.