New Energy for America – And New Jobs

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With plans like New Energy for America looming on the horizon, the Green-collar job market shows potential for exponential growth. According to the Green Jobs Report (pdf) released by the US Mayors office, researchers estimate that there is the potential for 4.2 million green jobs to be created over the next 30 years.

But despite the estimated growth for job creation, in 2010 between 47 and 67 percent of firms employing workers in the solar energy market report that they have difficulty finding applicants that meet their hiring expectations (pdf); and solar energy is only one of the sectors in which there are expected to be an increasing number of job openings. Wind, geothermal, biomass and water power firms are also expected to experience an economic boom in the coming years.

Obama’s comprehensive New Energy plan calls for 10 percent of U.S. electricity to come from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025. ACORE published a report (pdf) stating that potentially up to 635 GW of new electricity could be generated by 2025 through the use of renewable energy, and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, at least 425 GW of power will be needed for electricity alone in the year 2020. This presents great potential for the increased use of renewable energy to power America and a great need for workers to produce this power.

So how does the government plan to help fill these potential jobs with qualified workers? One way is through the implementation of programs put in place by the U.S. Department of Labor giving initiatives to firms offering training programs focused specifically on educating Green workers. The Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis recently stated that “the Department of Labor has awarded over $440 million in grants to help communities across the country spur economic recovery and begin the process towards energy independence and security and we are continuing our investment in workers by awarding $190 million in State Energy Sector Partnership and training grants.” Organizations such as the Women’s Bureau, the Veterans Employment and Training Services and the Office of Disability Employment Policy are already putting their grants to use in line with the Department of Labor’s green2gold campaign. This not only translates to new jobs for properly trained individuals, but also new jobs for the professionals doing the training.

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