Ohio Becoming Mecca for Green Collar Jobs

John Davis

ohio.jpgA new report says Ohio could be home to 174,000 advanced, renewable energy jobs by 2030.

The report by the American Solar Energy Society, funded by the non-profit Ohio Business Development Coalition, says the Buckeye State is pioneering efforts to increase the number of skilled professionals in the renewable energy field:

According to the Ohio Business Development Coalition (OBDC), the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment, Ohio’s universities and colleges are gearing up to meet the need for skilled green collar workers through new programs, degrees and training specific to the advanced energy industry.

One example of an educational institution rising to the occasion is Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio. The college was recently awarded a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to build an innovative learning facility. The Hocking College Energy Institute will feature modern learning labs for students studying in the college’s energy programs.

“This state-of-the-art facility is truly a place where students will receive hands on training in advanced energy,” said Jerry Hutton, dean of energy and transportation technologies for Hocking College. “Training skilled workers is critical to attracting renewable energy companies to Ohio and recharging the state’s manufacturing base.”

Ohio’s direct market access to renewable energy consumers and state-sponsored programs are helping companies develop and launch the next generation of advanced energy technologies and compete even more effectively in a global economy. Through initiatives such as Ohio Governor Ted Strickland’s Energy, Jobs and Progress plan, announced in 2007, Ohio is modernizing its energy infrastructure, ensuring affordable and stable energy prices and attracting renewable energy jobs of the future through an Advanced Energy Portfolio Standard. Ohio also is a driving force behind initiatives to increase the production of ethanol, biodiesel fuels and cellulosic ethanol, a fuel produced from farm waste and plants.

Ohio’s Third Frontier Project is also part of that effort to increase those green collar jobs. It’s a 10-year, $1.6 billion initiative to help build relationships between companies and higher education. It marks the largest commitment by Ohio to expand high-tech research capabilities, promote innovation, company formation and create high-paying jobs.

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